Review of Kung Fu Panda 2

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Kung Fu Panda 2

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Movie Review for "Kung Fu Panda 2"

--Rating: PG (For mild violence and sequences of martial arts)
Release Date: May 26, 2011
Directed by: Jennifer Yuh
Genre: Animation/Action/Adventure/Comedy/Family

The sequel to "Kung Fu Panda," "Kung Fu Panda 2" is a fun adventure story that parents and children will enjoy watching together. There is mild violence and martial arts sequences, so very young children will need parental guidance to watch this film. The animated hit is perfect for family movie nights and parties.

The story of the second installment starts by explaining that the heir of the peacock clan, Lord Shen (Gary Oldman) wished to harness the power of fireworks as a weapon. He learns that a single warrior of black and white would defeat him, so he eliminates all of the pandas in China. Shen's parents become horrified at what their child has done and exile him. Because of this, Lord Shen seeks revenge.

Thirty years later, Po (Jack Black), the panda who had to learn martial arts in the first installment of the movie, is living his dream of being the Dragon Warrior. He protects the Valley of Peace with his friends and other kung fu masters from the first movie, the Furious Five.

When the Furious Five and Po go up against Lord Shen, Po begins having flashbacks of his former life. With the help of Lord Shen's soothsayer (Michelle Yeoh), Po is able to recall the memories he needs to help him on his path to inner peace. Along with the Furious Five, Po helps defeat Lord Shen.

This movie is an exception to the common thought that sequels won't be a good as the first and original movie. The animation is beautiful, and well-designed characters seem to come to life during the film. Each action scene is executed at angles that allow the martial arts to be viewed and with special effects that add to the fight, instead of drawing attention away from the characters.

Since the first movie, Po's character has developed, allowing him to stand on his own more often. Po struggles with overcoming his past tragedies, with understanding his adoption, and more subjects that some children may relate to well. While the subject matter is heavy, it doesn't weigh down the scenes in the movie, making it easy to watch while still learning about the history of the character.

This movie focuses on topics such as friendship, family, adoption, revenge, and honor. In some instances, audiences might expect this to make the movie better for older children or adults; however, the manner it is all portrayed is positive and clever. Dark moments are lightened with comedy lines, jokes, funny moments, and more that will have children laughing and parents delighted in the movie.

While the ending seems obvious, the way the movie takes characters through self-realization and helps them become peaceful and empathetic is successful and something to be enjoyed by audience members of all ages. Unlike some children's films, "Kung Fu Panda 2" is not purely for children and can be enjoyed by teens, young adults, and adults alike.

"Kung Fu Panda 2" is available in both two- and three-dimensional formats for audience members who enjoy feeling like they are part of the movie. The three-dimensional format does not take away from the sequences during the movie, but is instead integrated in a manner that adds to the overall look of the film, helping members of the audience focus on important elements in a scene or feel like they could be part of the situation. This second film in the series is great for anyone looking to watch a fun and unique flick.