Kung Fu Panda 4 Review


One of the underrated gems in DreamWorks Animation’s franchise hits is the Kung Fu Panda series. Despite the lack of widespread recognition, these movies, along with the titular character Po, have continued to impress audiences with each installment. The combination of heartfelt storytelling, beautifully animated action sequences, and light-hearted humor has given the franchise its unique charm that sets it apart from other kids’ movies.

Plot Summary

In the latest installment, Kung Fu Panda 4, Po is faced with the idea of passing on his role as the Dragon Warrior to a new successor so he can pursue a higher calling. Accompanied by a new ally, Zhen, a fox thief, Po embarks on a mission to stop a villain known as “The Chameleon” from acquiring kung-fu expertise through magical means. The movie follows the familiar formula of previous films, with Po learning valuable lessons about what it truly means to be a martial arts master.

Adversaries and Allies

The Chameleon presents a unique challenge for Po, as she possesses the ability to mimic the fighting styles of past adversaries, making her a formidable opponent. Voiced by Viola Davis, The Chameleon adds a thrilling dynamic to the film with her shapeshifting abilities. On the other hand, Zhen, voiced by Awkwafina, brings humor and quick wit to the movie, serving as a playful counterpart to Po’s character.

Visual and Comedic Appeal

As with previous Kung Fu Panda films, Kung Fu Panda 4 is filled with exaggerated physical comedy and imaginative character designs. The diverse cast of animals, including Po’s two dads, Ping and Li Shan, provide plenty of laughs and heartwarming moments throughout the movie. The fight scenes are well-executed, although there is a noticeable shift towards less emphasis on violence and peril in this installment.

Director’s Vision

Director Mike Mitchell, known for his work on animated films like Trolls and The Lego Movie 2, brings a fresh perspective to the Kung Fu Panda universe. Alongside co-director Stephanie Ma Stine, Mitchell steers the series in a new direction, exploring themes of succession and growth. While some aspects may feel reminiscent of fanfiction, the film ultimately stays true to the spirit of Kung Fu Panda and leaves audiences eagerly awaiting the next chapter in Po’s journey.