Kung Fu Panda 4: Po’s Dumpling-Fueled Adventure Hits a Villainous Snag

“Kung Fu Panda 4” bursts onto the screen with high-kicking action expected from the beloved Panda Po and his gang. However, with an underwhelming villain, something not synonymous with DreamWorks Productions “Kung Fu Panda 4” misses the nuances and thrill encapsulated in the “Kung Fu Panda” series previous works. 

With a change in directors from the dynamic duo Jennifer Yuh Nelson and Alessandro Carloni, this installment is directed by Mike Mitchell. Voiced by the actors we have come to love and enjoy.

In the Valley of Peace, our favorite dumpling-devouring hero, Po (voiced by the ever-energetic Jack Black), finds himself facing a new villainous threat that could unravel everything he holds dear. But fear not, because Po’s got his trusty Kung Fu Crew- The Furious Five- consisting of legendary Kung Fu masters; Master Shifu a headstrong and passionate red panda (voiced by Dustin Hoffman), Tigress a empowered and strong south china tiger (voiced by Angelina Jolie), Viper a cunning yet calm green tree snake (voiced by Lucy Liu), Monkey a golden snub-nosed monkey is fun loving second-in-command (voiced by Jackie Chan), Mantis the patient praying mantis (voiced by Seth Rogan), and last by definitely not least Crane a black-necked crane serving as the scout and outlook for the five (voiced by David Cross) completes the Furious Five and their Master of Kung Fu.

In the latest installment of the “Kung Fu Panda” saga, Po finds himself grappling with a new challenge as Master Shifu tasks him with a monumental decision: to embrace a new role and leave behind his title as the Dragon Warrior. As he navigates this dilemma, Po encounters a cunning chameleon named Zhen (voiced by Awkwafina) and uncovers a sinister plot orchestrated. With the help of unexpected allies and a few surprising twists, Po embarks on a thrilling adventure to confront this formidable foe and protect the Valley of Peace. Along the way, he learns valuable lessons about trust, resilience, and the power of embracing change. 

The trailer of “Kung Fu Panda 4” set high expectations for the movie. The Fluid animation, the fun-loving voice overs that audiences across the world have come to enjoy, the action packed sequences, and beautiful designs. For the first time in the saga we are greeted with a new type of villain, a chameleon which sets the movie apart from the rest. DreamWorks Production are notorious for large, intimidating, and quite plainly scary villains such as, The Red Death from How to Train Your Dragon a humongous dragon with a terrifying design the villain embodies a threat and Pitch Black from Rise of the Guardians with a chilling design, his shadowy form and glowing yellow eyes embodying the essence of fear itself. As the Nightmare King, he seeks to plunge the world into darkness by extinguishing the belief in the Guardians, making him a truly terrifying adversary.

The undeveloped plot line of the Zhen truly makes the movie underwhelming. With a true motivation never being given to justify her actions. The villain seems idiotic rather than a fear installing entity. Unlike the previous installments of the series. One example is Tai Lung from Kung Fu Panda, his imposing physique and martial prowess are accentuated by his snow leopard design, complete with razor-sharp claws and intense yellow eyes. His thirst for vengeance against Master Shifu and the Dragon Warrior adds depth to his villainy. Another example being, Shen from Kung Fu Panda 2, his design is striking, with his sleek, metallic plumage and piercing red eyes. His cold demeanor and relentless pursuit of power, driven by a traumatic past made him a logical villain. 

With that being said, “Kung Fu Panda 4” still encapsulated the love we have for Po and the Furious Five. The film was filled with the slap-stick comedy audiences have come to love. A bubbly Po and his equally bubbly father. The dynamics are prevalent and as beautiful as they were in the previous installments. The movie stays consistent with its themes having beautiful quotes such as, “He who resorts to violence now, will only find more violence later.” The film through its positive dynamics, character design, and ever-so beautiful artwork carries on the beauty of the series. 

“Kung Fu Panda 4” earns an average 6.5 stars out of 10. The film in itself is well developed with fluid animation. A lovely star-studded cast perfectly encompasses each character. However, the movie failed to live up to the expectations set by the previous three films of the series. With an underwhelming villain, slow-progressing storyline, and plot holes scattered throughout the film. The previous installments of the “Kung Fu Panda” franchise continuously gave us something exciting. Especially the development of the villains “Kung Fu Panda 4” simply did not reach. With that being said, as a lover of the series the movie is a must watch. To see Po and The Furious Five in action is always a fun time. 

Movie Details:

– Title: Kung Fu Panda 4

– Director: Mike Mitchell

– Rating: 6.5/10

– Genre: Comedy, Adventure, Action

– Recommended: Family  

Tanisha Basra

Hello my lovelies, my name is Tanisha Basra. I am a senior at Thomas A. Edison CTE High School. I am a foodie, a video game fanatic, and an avid movie watcher. I am one of the fantastic members of the Opinion section in the Edison Light. As a person with strong, passionate, and concise opinions this section will bring out my analytical and possibly creative mindset. My hobbies range anywhere from total laziness to total productivity. Thus, my knowledge is as broad and as wide as my opinions on what I know. I hope you all enjoy the diversity and the reflection of mindsets I hope to bring to the Edison Light.