With the money the original made, it will surprise no one that Dreamworks decided to make a sequel to Kungfu Panda. Kung Fu Panda 2 is the long awaited sequel and after watching it, I have to say it’s a pretty good movie.
The plot of the movie is simple and straightforward. Picking up directing from where Kungfu Panda left off, Kungfu Panda 2 has Po (Jack Black) protecting the Valley of Peace as the “Dragon Warrior”. However he is still a bumbling fool that drives his master, Master Shifu (Dustin Hoffman), up the wall. Master Shifu tells Po that although he is the “Dragon Warrior”, he still has a long way to go as he has not achieved inner peace. Po of course has no idea what Master Shifu is talking about.
Soon after, Master Shifu received a letter stating that Lord Shen (Gary Oldman) has taken over Gongmen City after defeating Master Thundering Rhino (Victor Garber), leader of the kung fu council protecting Gongmen City, with a new weapon; a cannon. Master Shifu send Po along the Furious Five to stop Lord Shen from using the weapon against all of China.
After reaching Gongmen City and being captured by Lord Shen’s followers, Po discovered his origins including the fact that Lord Shen was the one who killed his birth parents. Defeated by Lord Shen, Po was then rescued by a soothsayer (Michelle Yeoh) who brought Po back to the ruined village where he was born. Remembering his past, Po embraced himself, achieving the inner peace Master Shifu told him about.
Returning to Gongmen City, Po saves the Furious Five and together, they stop Lord Shen from unleashing his cannons on China.
First off, let’s get this out of the way. Kungfu Panda 2 is not as good as the original. The original has a fresh originality to it that the sequel has no way to replicate. However the movie did manage to keep the charm of the first movie.
Director Jennifer Yuh Nelson made a smart decision keeping Po as a bumbling fool instead of being a full fledged kungfu master. Couple that with some fun action sequence, look out for the first fight in Gongmen City, Kungfu Panda 2 retained most of the humor of the first movie.
I also like the fact the movie did not rest on its laurels. The kungfu world was expanded in the movie and Po’s friendship with the Five and his relationship with his foster father, Mr. Ping (James Hong), were also expanded on.
It might not be as good as the original, but with its blend of action, comedy, and visual effect, Kung Fu Panda 2 is a sequel that will please audiences. Bring on the next sequel!