‘Kung Fu Panda 4’ brings us the next generation dragon warrior

By Thomas J. Cromer

The Series in Overview: 

For those not familiar with the “Kung Fu Panda ” films, the franchise started in 2008 and its newest entry hit theaters this month. The “Kung Fu Panda” films are set in a fantasy version of ancient China full of mystical creatures. As the title of the series suggests, it does have a good amount of action in it focused on the Kung Fu family of martial arts. The characters in the series are all humanoid animals, which naturally causes most of the comedy to come from puns, especially those dealing with animals like surf and turf. Lastly, the animation and its style look amazing, which is a signature of the quality of DreamWorks that can be seen in other films such as “Prince of Egypt,”  “Puss in Boots: The Last Wish” and “The Bad Guys.”


The film did a good job with its character writing and crafting interesting characters. Starting out, the main character of “Kung Fu Panda” is Poe the Panda himself, who in this movie is struggling with moving in a different direction of life. One of the new characters in this latest installment is a Fox who, in typical characteristics of the media, is naturally smart and cunning. The main villain in “Kung Fu Panda 4 is the Chameleon, a sorceress with the power to shapeshift and steal the powers of others. This allows “Kung Fu Panda 4” to serve as the “greatest hits” of the franchise’s past villains. The old villain that played the largest role and made the biggest presentation was Ti Lang, a villainous Snow Leopard who appeared in the first film. 


In the film “Kung Fu Panda 4” there was a mixture of thoughts walking away from the theater.. First of all, change isn’t always a bad thing. We as humans often do not have a desire for things to change because it’s difficult and uncertain even though it can be a real blessing that makes things better. The film also talks about how it is never too late to do a good thing. We should not allow our past or future to have tyranny over our actions of the moment. 

Finally, the film also emphasizes that sometimes people do the right things for the wrong reasons. In the film, there is an underground den of thieves who are the center of a running joke that the thieves are talked into doing good actions through misunderstanding, without their bad motives ever being addressed.

Conclusion and Rating: 

I rank this film 6/10 egg rolls. The animation style is good, the humor is funny, especially if you like puns, and the characters are likable or at least understandable in their motivations. 

The biggest complaint to have for “Kung Fu Panda 4” is in the worldview. While there are positives,  the negatives are built into  the spiritual background of the film’s universe on how the afterlife works, the idea of martial arts connecting to the spirit of the person and that Poe is a religious leader who brings wisdom and hope. While there are many good things to take away from the film, these concerns might prevent “Kung Fu Panda 4” from being an easy pick for family movie night.

“Kung Fu Panda 4” is currently playing in theater

Thomas J. Cromer is a freshman social studies education major from southern Ohio. Throughout his years he’s gained many different interests and life lessons, including a love for media, food, humor, and trying to write.

Image courtesy of Universal Pictures.

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