“Kung Fu Panda 2” Bears Everything Needed in a Sequel



"Kung Fu Panda 2" Bears Everything Needed in a Sequel


Often, sequels to successful films end up being let downs to the fans that helped build the fame of the franchise.  Many times movie goers have seen their favorite stories and characters beaten down to a point where they lose all originality and their sole function transformed into money making machines.  However, on some rare occasions, a sequel will match the quality of it predecessor and leave the viewer satisfied with what they have seen.  This is the case with “Kung Fu Panda 2.”  The all star cast of voices including Jack Black, Angelina Jolie, and Dustin Hoffman help to supplement the already charming tale of a husky panda bear named Po learning to use Kung Fu in order  to protect China.  And, just as he did in the first, Po learns something about himself and life along the way.

The movie starts off in a similar manner to the first–a cartoon-like segment that sets up a back-story and introduces a few characters.  This time, the story of the new primary foe is depicted, the likes of a villainous peacock named Shen.  Gary Oldman lends his voice to the avian pyromaniac who finds a way to turn fireworks into a weapon and turn it against China.  It is he who Po the Dragon Warrior must defeat in order to save his home and learn more about his origins. One of the greatest attractions of “Kung Fu Panda 2” is its incredible line up of voice talents.  Names like Seth Rogen, Lucy Liu, Jackie Chan, Angelina Jolie, and David Crane compose the “Furious Five”, along with Dustin Hoffman as their master, Shifu.  Each character in the movie possesses their own unique talents that either add to the hilarity of the situations, or the action of the conflicts.

The movie does a surprisingly good job of balancing the abundance of action and kung fu fighting scenes with light hearted, family oriented comedy.  The impressive visuals can be mesmerizing at times, and the high-end animation adds to the story.  DreamWorks has typically done a great job in not only keeping their target audience of children entertained, but the parents taking those children to the theaters as well.  “Kung Fu Panda 2” continues this trend as just about everyone watching will find themselves entertained. The panda’s love of food often takes priority just as it did in the first, as well as the occasional jabs at his weight.  This brand of humor continues to work like it did before, as writers Jonathan Aibel and Glenn Berger manage to utilize what is probably the film’s funniest aspect without becoming redundant.

The story of “Kung Fu Panda 2” flows smoothly and ties in well with the first movie.  It promises to entertain right up until the end, at which point the audience is given reason to believe another sequel is on its way.  In today’s industry, a majority of the successful movie releases are followed by a series of sequels, which isn’t always a good thing.  However, thus far, the “Kung Fu Panda” franchise has done everything to satisfaction, and has earned itself the right to continue producing sequels as long as Po the Dragon Warrior keeps us laughing.