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The Wessex Wire

REVIEW: ‘Kung Fu Panda 4’ stumbles, but still has charm

REVIEW: Kung Fu Panda 4 stumbles, but still has charm
Poster obtained from IMDB

“Kung Fu Panda 4” promised to be a blast from the past, bringing back everyone’s favorite panda, Po. It had some high points: The heartwarming story of Po’s journey is something that never gets old. The animation is as stunning as ever, with vibrant colors and fluid action sequences, keeping the audience’s eyes glued to the screen the entire time. But despite the exciting animation, many fans were left disappointed because it didn’t have the same hilarious banter as the previous films. The original trilogy had an effortless blend of humor and heart, making the audience laugh out loud while also delivering those touching moments. In “Kung Fu Panda 4,” the comedy is there, but it doesn’t meet the standard that the previous movies had set. It’s a tough act to follow when the first three movies set the bar so high.

While “Kung Fu Panda 4” may not have lived up to expectations, it still has the charm of the series to make it enjoyable. The furious five were not fighting by Po’s side in this movie which let down many fans. The chemistry and laughter of the furious five brought joy so strong, and to rip that away from the audience in the final movie is heartbreaking.  Even though this film didn’t live up to the hype, the charm of Po and his dumpling-loving ways are hard to resist. 

There’s a tricky balance of trying to capture the magic of the originals while looking to create something new and different. With sequels, especially after four movies, there’s the challenge of keeping the spirit of its previous installments.

The shift from prioritizing the plot over punchlines had a disappointing effect on the viewers as there was expected to be constant laughs. It was almost like the producers were trying to grow with the audience, which can be a letdown for fans expecting non-stop laughing like in the first three films.

The introduction of new characters was one of the positive additions since all the characters brought their own flavor to the mix. The new villain and new characters might not have been as iconic as the original cast, but they added a fresh perspective to the story. The new villain, The Chameleon is the main antagonist who is a shape-shifting sorceress that can copy the look of anyone and absorb their abilities. She took in a child, Zhen who is a fox with plenty of promising abilities. Zhen questions how bad she really is when she sees Po in trouble.

“Kung Fu Panda 4” leaned a bit too much into new territory, but it’s still a part of the “Kung Fu Panda” universe, and that’s something to be thrilled about. This animated series will be missed since the ending of this movie suggested that this series has come to an end. It has been a very wholesome and heartfelt ride, and now it’s time for Po to choose the next dragon warrior.

Behind the Byline
Emma Sceppaguercio
Emma Sceppaguercio, Contributor
Emma Sceppaguercio is a junior contributor for the Wessex Wire. When she isn't playing a sport, you'll likely catch her at the nearest Chipotle! She enjoys listening to music, especially Bruno Mars.
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