Kung Fu Panda 4

1 min read

Grade: B-

Kung Fu Panda returned to theaters for a fourth time with a familiar story of Po-versus-villain that missed much of the impact that the previous three films accomplished. In what almost felt like a rushed spin-off, the new characters felt underdeveloped with a predictable storyline to support them. Separated from past iterations with the noticeable absence of the Furious Five, the movie fell short of the months of anticipation I’d held for it. For all its faults, a return to the Valley of Peace brought back the nostalgia of Po’s lovable, charismatic personality.

Through dynamic action sequences, lighthearted humor, and a heartwarming story of redemption, Kung Fu Panda’s fourth movie sees Dragon Warrior Po pass on his title and rise to the position Master Oogway vacated in his ascent to the spirit realm. In his attempts to pass on the lessons that he learned from his mentors before him, Po struggles to match Oogway’s mastery of proverbs, his efforts creating laughs throughout the story but other times falling flat, mirroring much of the humor throughout the film.

Introduced to a Valley of Peace far removed from the threats of the past, the sudden appearance of Po’s old nemesis Tai Lung sets up Po’s final mission as the Dragon Warrior. What transpires to be the work of the Chameleon, Po’s last journey showcases his kindness and honesty as he travels beside the deceptive Zhen, voiced by Awkwafina.

Venturing to the Chameleon’s castle, Zhen leads Po directly into the arms of the Chameleon. Through his trusting nature, Po falls into her plans to bring all of his old enemies back from the spirit realm, giving her the staff wisdom needed to steal their Kung Fu powers for herself. 

With a youthful message of, “It’s never too late to do the right thing,” Zhen makes up for her transgressions by joining Po to defeat the chameleon as he returns to the Valley of Peace with his heart decided on who will take on the Dragon Warrior position he once held.

Po’s journey maintains an endearing wholesomeness as his two dads tag along, a reminder of the place Po holds in the hearts of his friends and family, as well as a whole generation of fans that grew up alongside him.

Andrew is a senior at M-A in his first year of journalism and hopes to share his interest in classical music through his writing.

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