The Falcon's Nest

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The Falcon's Nest

The Falcon's Nest

Kung-Fu Panda: love it or leave it?


Warning: This review contains SPOILERS!


Just recently, Dreamworks released the fourth installment in the widely popular Kung-Fu Panda series. Many fans have been debating whether it lives up to the hype it received. Fans are also debating if it’s as good as the original three, which are all mostly considered to be good-quality films. Up ahead, check out a summary of the movie and my personal thoughts.



In this most recent Kung-Fu Panda movie, Po has to team up with a fox thief named Zhen to stop a new villain: The Chameleon, who wants to rule all of China. The movie begins with Po being told by Master Shifu that he has to choose an apprentice to become the next Dragon Warrior. Po holds auditions to find the next Dragon Warrior, but he fails to find anyone good enough. After auditions, Po goes to rest in the Jade Temple when he spots a thief trying to ransack the temple. Po captures the thief and she is put in jail. Po is then told by the citizens that The Chameleon is on her way to take over The Valley. When Po comes to interrogate the thief, she tells him that she knows about the Chameleon and can help Po stop her. Po then decides to let her go and they leave to stop The Chameleon. 


Meanwhile, The Chameleon is taking over all of the nearby towns, taking the form of Tai Lung, the villain of the first movie. She also wants to use Po’s staff given to him by Master Oogway in the third movie to unlock The Spirit Realm so that she can meet all the Kung-Fu masters and absorb their abilities, since she doesn’t know any kung-fu and can only mimic the appearance of people. At the same time, Po’s dads, Li Shan and Mr. Ping try to follow Po in secret since they don’t want him in danger. At many times, Li Shan has to pose as Po so they don’t get captured.


 Eventually, Po and Zhen arrive at The Chamleon’s tower where Zhen captures Po and reveals she was working with the Chameleon to get Po’s staff. She then reveals that The Chameleon raised her, leading her to feel obligated to be loyal. The Chameleon then opens the gateway to the Spirit Realm and summons all the kung-fu masters who have passed on, including Tai Lung, Lord Shen, and Kai, the villains of the first three movies. The Chameleon then pushes Zhen over a bridge since she believes Zhen is no longer useful to her. 


Po eventually breaks out of his cell and gets his staff back with the help of Mr. Ping and Li Shan. He then uses the staff to take back the Chameleon’s abilities and return them to the Kung Fu masters. Tai Lung then admits that maybe he wasn’t meant to be the Dragon Warrior and says he is grateful that Po returned his abilities, and all the kung-fu masters bow to him including all the villains. They then take the Chameleon with them back to The Spirit Realm. Po then decides that Zhen will be the next Dragon Warrior and begins training her. 


So what did I think of this latest Kung-Fu Panda movie? I thought it was pretty decent. The movie is slow at first, but the climax is very tense. My favorite part, easily, was seeing all the original villains, even if they don’t have any lines besides Tai Lung. I also really enjoyed the scenes where Li Shan and Mr. Ping are trying to find Po, as neither of them was good at fighting and had to rely on other clever methods to find him, which I thought was very creative and funny.


Although I did enjoy the movie, I did have a few issues with it. One of my biggest problems is just that it’s very predictable. It doesn’t go in any unexpected directions. It’s very easy to figure out that Zhen is the next Dragon Warrior, and that she was working for the Chameleon. Also, the Furious Five aren’t in the movie at all until the credits, where they don’t even speak. They were voiced by very well-known actors and actresses, so not having them speak was likely a production decision made to save money. My next problem is the scene where all of the kung-fu masters bow to Po. This includes the villains, which are Tai Lung, Kai, and Lord Shen. Tai Lung bowing I think is fine, as he could’ve been redeemed in the Spirit Realm and he was probably the least evil. Kai just wanted power similar to Chameleon, but I could understand him being redeemed. However, Lord Shen’s goal was genocide and to eradicate all pandas, as he tried to bomb the Valley, Po’s home. I didn’t think that made sense since Shen tormented Po and nearly murdered him and didn’t have any second thoughts about what he did. In my opinion, he was the kind of evil that was beyond redemption.


There has been talk of a Kung-Fu Panda 5, and if they do make it, I’ll be all for it as long it’s a step up from this one. I would definitely want a stronger villain and more of the Furious Five.  

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