Prayer Focus
Click here to watch THE HOPE on-line!
Oscar®Oscar® Nominee for Best Animated Feature Film
Movie Review

Kung Fu Panda 2

MPAA Rating: PG for sequences of martial arts action and mild violence.

Reviewed by: David Criswell, Ph.D.
CONTRIBUTOR

Average
Add to your list?
View your list
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Kids Family
Genre:
Animation Family Action Comedy Sequel
Length:
1 hr. 31 min.
Year of Release:
2011
USA Release:
May 26, 2011 (wide—3,800+ theaters)
DVD: December 13, 2011
Copyright, Paramount Pictures / DreamWorks Animation click photos to ENLARGE Copyright, Paramount Pictures / DreamWorks Animation Copyright, Paramount Pictures / DreamWorks Animation Copyright, Paramount Pictures / DreamWorks Animation Copyright, Paramount Pictures / DreamWorks Animation Copyright, Paramount Pictures / DreamWorks Animation Copyright, Paramount Pictures / DreamWorks Animation Copyright, Paramount Pictures / DreamWorks Animation Copyright, Paramount Pictures / DreamWorks Animation
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Paramount Pictures / DreamWorks Animation

animals in the Bible

Kid Explorers
Adventures in the rainforest! Learn about the Creator of the universe by exploring His marvelous creation. Fun for the whole family with games, activities, stories, answers to children’s questions, color pages, and more! One of the Web’s first and most popular Christian Web sites for children. Nonprofit, evangelical, nondenominational.
Featuring: Angelina JolieTigress (voice)
Gary OldmanLord Shen (voice)
Seth RogenMantis (voice)
Jack BlackPo (voice)
Jackie ChanMonkey (voice)
Jean-Claude Van Damme … Master Croc (voice)
Dustin HoffmanShifu (voice)
more »
Director: Jennifer Yuh
Producer: DreamWorks Animation
Jonathan Aibel … co-producer
Glenn Berger … co-producer
Melissa Cobb … producer
Guillermo del Toro … executive producer
Distributor: Paramount Pictures / DreamWorks Animation

“Prepare for the return of awesomeness.”

DVD cover. Copyrighted, Paramount Pictures / DreamWorks Animation

When the first KUNG FU PANDA came out, audiences fell in love with the slothful panda that became the Dragon Warrior of Kung Fu. The movie even inspired a live action Bollywood film called “Chandni Chowk to China” and, of course, a sequel. Most sequels are, by their very nature, inferior to the originals. They either try to repeat the formula used previously or divert too much from what made the original special. In the case of KUNG FU PANDA 2, the film does a little of both, but not too much of either.

Po, our panda hero, is now the Dragon Warrior. He and his cohorts protect the village from dangers, but when Po learns he is a adopted (his “father” is a goose, remember), he begins to wander why his real parents abandoned him. He starts looking to the past to find himself. In the meantime, an evil crane has invented a doomsday weapon that can defeat Kung Fu and will allow him to conquer all China. Po must defeat this warrior, while revealing his past.

Ascetically, KUNG FU PANDA 2 generally works pretty well. There are times that it seems repetitive and overly action oriented, but those times are not often. From a Christian parents perspective, however, there are definitely some things to beware of. First, although cartoon violence, there is ample of it. Explosions and deaths are common in the film. The violence is not more than one would see in the old Warner Brothers Cartoons, but there is an ample supply that might make parents leery of bringing in very small children. In some respects, KUNG FU PANDA 2 is a war movie, so young kids should be cautioned.

As one would expect, in this day and age, there is some potty humor. The most obvious is when the heroes are disguised in a paper dragon. The dragon appears to eat one of the villains, and then eventually comes out the rear end of the dragon, as if the dragon had just defecated. This is the worst scene, however, and there is not as much potty humor as I anticipated (for what that is worth).

The greater problem is its eastern mysticism, integrated with a good moral theme. The ying-yang symbol is featured prominently and repeatedly throughout the film. Since the film takes place in China, this is to be expected, to some extent, but the philosophy behind the ying-yang is much more than merely good vs. evil or inner conflict. Within the story, Po must learn “inner peace” and he eventually learns that peace by letting go of the past. This seems a very good and noble principle, but the fundamental flaw is that eastern religion sees inner peace as coming from within, whereas Jesus saw true peace as only being achieved through Christ and a relationship with the Father in Heaven. On the other hand, letting go of the past is a solid moral theme. Too many psychiatrists believe that we must explore the past to find solutions to our problems, but Jesus taught that we are to forgive and forget (not remember). In this respect, KUNG FU PANDA 2 is right on target. Letting go of bad memories from the past is essential, if we are to be at peace with God, but true peace must come through Jesus and not by looking inward. Looking inward is selfish. Looking to God is the only way to restore ourselves to our Creator and find our true purpose in life.

Overall, KUNG FU PANDA 2 makes a fine sequel. It is entertaining, if a little overly action-oriented. One might call it a Warner Brothers’ cartoon on steroids. Of course, as a fan of the old WB cartoons, I have no problem with this, per se, and I found the sequel to be better than I was expecting. It is a good follow up to a great film, and audiences should expect more to follow.

Violence: Heavy / Profanity: None / Sex/Nudity: None

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.


Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Comments below:
Positive
Positive—Excellent movie! And way better than the first. This one has the same voice cast, and even more action, and better dialogue between Po and the Five. Really, a great movie.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Andrew, age 19 (USA)
Positive—I loved this movie! It was even a little better than its predecessor. What I liked better about this one was that Shi Fu and The Furious Five are friends with Po now, where in the first one they were so mean to him. I, also, liked the fact that they explained Po’s adoption, instead of having us believe that this was some strange fantasy world where a goose can biologically have a baby panda. The action scenes were super-cool, and Gary Oldman shined as the evil peacock villain. My only complaint would be overuse of the term “inner peace”.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Serai Wilkins, age 19 (USA)
Positive—…I went in to see this, not knowing what to expect, since I did NOT like the first “Kung Fu Panda,” but I LOVED THIS ONE and will probably be watching again sometime soon
My Ratings: Moral rating: Excellent! / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Mat, age 34 (USA)
Positive—I would not say that “Kung Fu Panda 2” is better than the original. That hardly ever happens, but I will say that if it is not better, it is just as good. The continuing adventures of Po, Panda noodle chef turned Dragon Warrior, sees him face a villain that not only is more powerful than Kung Fu, but is also the one who killed his real parents. This saddens Po, but takes him on an adventure of rediscovering his identity, and finding inner peace.

This movie is more action packed (with violence heightened) and a lot darker than the first one. Some adults may be wary of the Zen philosophy that is represented by Kung Fu, but all in all, it teaches good values. I would recommend this film to everyone!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
Jacob Airey, age 23 (USA)
Neutral
Neutral—I really enjoyed the middle part of this movie. The first and last parts were heavily, I repeat, heavily into the new age belief of “inner peace,” which the movie shows can come from many sources (meditation being one of them, as well as finding your true self). By the end of the movie, Po finds inner peace by finding out about his past and where he came from.

There are very touching parts about adoption, but it doesn’t make up for the whole “inner peace” thing, imo. A Christian parent simply cannot watch this movie with their kids, without feeling the strong urge to talk to their kids about where real inner peace comes from. As soon as we got home from this movie, I picked up the Bible and showed my 7 year old a couple verses that show that real peace comes from knowing God and that Jesus is the only one who can give us lasting inner peace. The first Kung Fu Panda was very light on the new age beliefs, but this one really amped it up a lot. Makes me wonder if that was their intention. Probably would not have taken my kids if I knew it would be like this, but they did enjoy it, and we got a lot of laughs out of it, when it wasn’t busy shoving “inner peace” down our throats.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Lisa, age 27 (USA)
Negative
Negative—I saw “Kung Fu Panda 2” today. The issue of Eastern Mysticism was brought up in earlier reviews, but I was not prepared for the amount of Mysticism brought into this movie. It was continuous from beginning and end. There is a soothsayer in the movie who looks into the future through a bowl to provide prophecy to an evil character (witchcraft), the issue of finding your own inner peace and relying on yourself (humanism), statues that “good” characters are looking at in order to find inner peace (other gods), and many other things. It was disturbing to the spirit; I am happy that I did not have a child with me.

On a positive note, there is good demonstration of teamwork throughout the movie, with Po and his friends using each of their unique characteristics and abilities to defeat the villain. I was also pleased with the positive portrayal of adoption, and that Po was shown to accept his adoptive dad as his dad. I don’t think I would choose this movie to watch with a child, though, just to portray these good points. The effects of the mysticism outweigh these positive points
My Ratings: Moral rating: Very Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4
—LT, age 36 (USA)
Negative—No Christian should see this movie! This movie is propaganda for Eastern mysticism. Throughout the movie, there is yin yang symbolism, there is a soothsayer, and the entire theme of the movie is finding inner peace. The wheel that make up the enemy bird in the beginning and shown in the end is also a cult symbol. There is probably more that I didn’t pick up on. I believe indoctrination was the purpose of this film, which is dishonest and sleazy. On top of this, the movie was boring and predictable. This movie was very upsetting.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Extremely Offensive / Moviemaking quality: ½
—Courtney, age 45 (USA)
Comments from young people
Positive—I think “Kung fu Panda 2” is an awesome movie. The cartoon violence might be a bit much for very young children, but my eight year old brother also saw the movie with me and was absolutely loving it, beginning to end! In my opinion, the story is better, and the soundtrack is amazing. As far as the yin yang and the Inner peace go, I think that while some will try to break it down as such a bad thing, I really think it’s a good lesson. If you’re angry and bitter or just can’t let go of Earthly things, and you are not at peace with yourself how will you find peace with god? This is an awesome movie, and you’ll be missing out if you decide not to see it!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Lia, age 13 (USA)
Positive—I loved this movie! I actually liked this one better than the first one. I was laughing out loud in many parts and really liked the heart-warming storyline. For someone under 8 or 9 years old, the wolves might be a little scary, but, overall, I felt that the violence was kept at a kid level. This movie may not be very thought provoking or serious, but if you are looking to see a relaxing and funny movie, then I would recommend this.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Ellen K., age 14 (USA)
Positive—I really liked this movie. Really funny, and good quality 3D animation. The story was rather predicable, but still interesting. I thought it was interesting how the “threat to Kung Fu” was… well, I won’t tell you, just so there are no spoilers. However, it talks a lot about “inner peace” as mentioned in the review. And it talks like inner peace and the ability to do impossible things is hidden inside of you—you just have to find it. But this movie takes place in China—what do you really expect?
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Andrew, age 12 (USA)
Positive—Such a great movie! My friend and I saw this, and being teenagers, we laughed as much as the little kids in front of us did! Great soundtrack, very funny dialogue and I was definitely enjoying the movie all the way through! I never got bored, and the story line grabbed me a lot. There were a few violent scenes, but nothing you wouldn’t see on TV or in many other kid movies. I would recommend this to anyone looking for a sweet, funny, and heart-warming tale of a Panda who is just trying to find his way. …
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Emma, age 14 (USA)
Positive—This was a great movie! Definitely good for all ages. I think it was better than the first one. Po and the Five were over their conflicts of the first movie, and they had fun together and supported each other. It was full of funny action and humor. It kept you going all the way through. Overall, great movie. …
My Ratings: Moral rating: Excellent! / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Claire W, age 14 (USA)
Positive—I love this movie so much!! I went with some of my family to watch it, and we all absolutely loved it! I definitely loved “Kung Fu Panda.” It was my favorite movie, until I saw “Kung Fu Panda 2”!! I could watch it over 10 times and still not be tired of it, just like I watched the first one!!

I wish I could give this movie a 15 on the Filmmaking Quality! I just love it!! Jack Black did an amazing job! The humor wasn’t too crude, and my little sisters, ages 5 and 7, found the movie hilarious. Sure, they did throw in a little Chinese ying-yang stuff, but, in our day and age, most Christian children understand that peace comes from God and not “within”.

I think this is a great movie that the whole family will not only enjoy, but will want to watch over and over again! I forgot to mention that this movie is jammed-packed with cartoon violence. It’s not too bad, unless you have two little boys that love to kung fu fight! But, hey, God made us to heal!! They will be fine! Like I said, this movie has some intense action, but it is truly AWESOME!!!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Tori, age 15 (USA)
Positive—…Having never seen the first part and somewhat frightened of fast and eye popping 3D, I reluctantly followed my friends to the movie theatre. It was an excellent film, and the first 3D movie I saw in which I didn’t remove my glasses, until the end. The 3D wasn’t too eye popping, and, yet, it looked very professional and made you feel right at home. The only objectionable content I saw in this film is the constant use of the yin-yang and the portrayal of inner peace. Yet, I felt nothing wrong while watching the movie. I do not recommend children under the age of 8 watch this film due to the violence, drama and spiritual content. Other than that, this Is a pure enjoyable movie.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—David, age 12 (India)
Positive—…Overall, great movie—not offensive, at all.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Tyler, age 13 (USA)