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Kung Fu Panda 4 Review

Po going against the new supervillain, “The Chameleon,” in the new Kung Fu Panda 4 movie
Po going against the new supervillain, “The Chameleon,” in the new Kung Fu Panda 4 movie

Kung Fu Panda 4, the latest film in DreamWorks’ popular franchise, has recently hit theaters and the reviews are scattered. Po, the face of the franchise and Dragon Warrior, faces a new challenge: becoming the spiritual leader of the Valley of Peace. He must also find a new kung fu master to take his place, leading him to train a young fox named Zhen (The NY Times).

The film excels in the animation department. The animation remains vibrant and detailed, bringing the fantastical world of the Valley of Peace to life. The action sequences are a highlight, with the return of the chaotic and funny kung fu choreography.

However, Kung Fu Panda 4 struggles to recapture the magic of its predecessors, which is the primary complaint of fans. This is most likely due to the plot feeling predictable with an antagonist, the Chameleon, who resurrects past villains for a recycled “greatest hits” battle. While new voice actress Viola Davis brings gravitas to the role of Chameleon, a mystical advisor, the humor feels a bit forced at times, particularly with the addition of Awkwafina’s new character (RogerEbert). Overall, the film is solid but the seven-year anticipation may not have been entirely worth the wait. Ramapo senior, James Magerko, is a big fan of the Kung Fu Panda series, but is yet to see the new release following the trilogy. James stated, “I thought that after the third movie, Dreamworks would be finished producing any further movies in the franchise. I am thrilled to hear this though and I am definitely going to give it an honest watch.”

Die-hard fans will likely find enjoyment in seeing Po and the gang back in action. The heartwarming themes of friendship, perseverance, and facing your fears are still present. However, for newcomers or those hoping for a groundbreaking sequel, Kung Fu Panda 4 might feel like a predictable and average Dreamworks movie. Ramapo Cooking Teacher, Mr Bunger, stated, “I liked the first Kung Fu Panda movie a lot. I never really watch animated movies that much but it was a classic and I was a fan. I bet I would really enjoy the rest of the series if it’s similar to the original.”

Here’s a breakdown of the film’s strengths and weaknesses:

  • Strengths:
    • Stunning animation
    • Exciting action sequences
    • Heartwarming themes
  • Weaknesses:
    • Predictable plot
    • Uneven humor
    • Feels like a retread of past films

Overall, Kung Fu Panda 4 is a pleasant, slightly forgettable, addition to the franchise. It might not hold the same weight as the earlier films, but it offers a fun and entertaining experience, particularly for younger viewers and fans of the series.

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