Kung Fu Panda 2 has a lot to offer in terms of entertainment, excellent animation and color, and learning experiences that are good for kids to see.  In addition, it has a stellar cast of voices (Jack Black, Angelina Jolie, Dustin Hoffman, Gary Oldman, Jackie Chan, Seth Rogen, Lucy Liu and many other familiars).  The Panda “Po” (voiced by Jack Black) encounters the distressing truth that the father he knows, his goose father, (James Hong) is not his biological father, so there is a special message for children who have been adopted.  Much of the quest in this version is to find the story of his origins while saving China from an old enemy, the self-serving peacock “Shen” (Gary Oldman) who has obtained an unstoppable weapon and who is willing to sacrifice the good of the people for his own fame and glory.  These two aims are linked for very good reasons.

Po has attained the reputation of Dragon Warrior, admired and feared by many, but his Master Shifu informs him he must achieve inner peace in order to meet the challenge of the evil Shen.  Po takes along his team from the first movie, The Furious Five (Tigress, Crane, Mantis, Viper, and Monkey).  There follows exciting battles and fireworks and occasionally bumbling on Po’s part until he finds that inner peace.

The film contains modeling that is beneficial for children to see and hear, such as persistence in the face of discouragement, mastering inner doubts by finding inner peace, team cooperation, the dangers in looking only to achieve one’s desires without regard for others, and loyalty, for example.

Grade:  A

By:  Donna R. Copeland