Everyone agrees that the first Kung Fu Panda was a great animated movie. It had great animation, witty humor, an interesting storyline and all around awesomeness. It also made a lot of money, which motivated its makers, DreamWorks, to make a sequel.
Well, the sequel is here and is it as good? It depends on your personal preference.
When fireworks were discovered in China, Lord Chen, a peacock prince, started experimenting with them and got his parents worried. They went to an oracle who foretold his demise at the hands of a black and white creature. Chen, overhearing the oracle, went and eradicated all the panda population in China, not knowing that by doing so, he sealed his fate.
Meanwhile, Po (Jack Black) is still the dragon warrior and he’s still out of shape. If you thought him becoming the almighty warrior would allow him to go up a flight of stairs, you were mistaken. He also can’t control his hunger yet. Not that you should complain. It’s Po, after all. The Furious Five are also back, with the same actors and actresses giving vocal performances. Angelina Jolie returns as Tigress, in case you’re wondering.
Facing thefts across Chinese towns of metal things, Po and the Furious Five set out to save the day, only for Po to have a flashback from parts of his life he had forgotten. And so, as they set out to save China from Lord Chen, Po is also on a mission to find himself.
Kung Fu Panda 2 is much more heartfelt than its predecessor. It is at points simply emotional. There’s one particular scene in mind that will shake you to your core. It is also less funny than the predecessor. That’s why I’m not sure if it’s better. It is a very good movie in itself. It is highly enjoyable, authentic and, well, awesome. If your idea of a good animated movie is one that’s not fun all the time, with moments that will get you thinking or emotional, you will love this one. If you wanted something more like the first one (fun, fun, fun), this one is slightly different but you will enjoy it nonetheless.
Jack Black is great in giving life – again – to Po. He’s hilarious at some points and, when required, pretty sentimental. Angelina Jolie is back as the awesome heartless Tigress, only this time, she will have heart. The movie also features the vocal talents of Gary Oldman as the villain Lord Chen. Jean-Claude Van Damme (he still exists?) also gives his voice to one of the characters and so does Dustin Hoffman.
Overall, Kung Fu Panda 2 was a highly enjoyable movie. It doesn’t clash in continuity with its predecessor and fortifies the idea of a Kung Fu Panda saga. So if you have nothing to do on some afternoon and you’re in the mood for some heartfelt awesomeness, this is the movie you need to watch.