Poster for Kung Fu Panda 4
Poster for “Kung Fu Panda 4”
DreamWorks Animation



Just to warn you, this review will contain spoilers. Heavy spoilers.


Do any of you remember when Toy Story 4 was released? And how it was a total cash grab? Guess what just happened again to the Kung Fu Panda saga?


To first dive into this movie, we must first understand the hallmarks of a cash grab. It has to be after a huge break between movie releases. Kung Fu Panda 3 was released in 2016. That’s an eight year time difference.


The next is that there needs to be a new character that wasn’t hinted at prior and is a friend of the main character. Po gets a new friend who we’ve never seen before, Zhen, played by Awkwafina of all people (is there nothing she can’t pop in?) Zhen is completely new. There’s no hint to her beforehand. And you know what? She basically replaces the influence of The Furious Five.


The next is that there’s fan service. Not in the Scarlett Johansson in Iron Man 2, but instead bringing back fan favorite characters. however, they just butchered these characters (who happen to be the villains) so bad. The thing that brought me to this movie was Tai Lung, played by Ian McShane, because he was an awesome character in the first movie, yet he was completely unrecognizable in this movie and he only had like, two minutes of screen time.


This movie had other things that were bad about it to. It was painfully predictable. And I get that it’s a kids movie and they need to have some level of predictability, but this movie was predictable from the teaser trailer.


The humor was jokes that had been used a million times before, nothing new to laugh about. I don’t think I laughed at all during the movie, which is just sad.


The story itself was boring and filled with too many characters that only filled one insignificant role, rather than the side characters we are used to in this series. The villain had little to no depth, the backstabbing was seen from the first moment we met the backstabber, and Po was dumbed down for this movie. Po, played by Jack black, may be many things, but he has never been particularly dumb in any of the movies.


None of the emotional moments hit hard, and unlike the other movies, Po had no new skill that he had to learn tied to mystic powers. He had to learn how to say proverbs? It was a stupid character arc.


The worst part of this movie was probably the ending where Zhen is declared the new dragon warrior and we see that there is a new peach tree growing beside Oogway’s tree. Meaning we are going to get more movies and TV shows as part of this new era. We are going to lose more and more of the appeal and heart that the original trilogy had, which is so unfortunate.


I do have some compliments for this movie, not everything is negative. The voice acting was fine, and the animation was as gorgeous as ever, now with more impact on the fur and scales of certain animals. The way that they showed the city (which, small complaint, they pretended that Po had never been in a city which completely forgot the second movie, but WHATEVER I GUESS) was very interesting and a much needed change to the more bland areas we usually see. The life in the city is very intricate and you can tell that it had a lot of work put into it.


But seeing this immediately after seeing the trailer for The Wild Robot, which is going to be released by the same company, is just defeating. Art needs to be treasured, and I have to say, Kung Fu Panda 4 is not art.


It should’ve been a straight to Netflix TV show.

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About the Contributor
Ollie Warren is a senior writing and publishing major. They write the Flip Feature column, review Lincoln Park shows, and work as the managing editor of The SIREN. They love to watch movies, swim, and learn about history and science. After high school, they plan to go to college and get a degree in History Ed.

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