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Late to the party, but not late to the fun as I’m here to deliver the DreamWorks Animation Kung Fu Panda 4 review. Although at this point it may seem redundant on my part to give a review on this film, given majority have already agreed with my viewpoints. Still, as a reviewer of all things pop culture, it is my task to give my honest opinion and dissect the points of why the result came to be. So, here goes.

Kung Fu Panda is a franchise that needs no introduction. It is DreamWorks’ most successful franchise that surpassed Shrek and set a standard for all of the franchises under the studio’s belt. It gained a massive following in China, despite being an American animated film about furries doing Kung-Fu. It was a love letter to all the kung-fu films and cemented its status as a martial arts film (by WatchMojo and other sources).

Overall, DreamWorks Animation Kung-Fu Panda 4 has its reasons to garner hype, despite the trailer displaying signs of trouble. However, keeping in mind the previous entries there was reason to hope that the fourth outing will compete neck n neck with other animated titles like – Blue Eye Samurai, The Imaginary, Digimon Adventure 02, Pokémon Concierge, and some other Titles. Still, troubles loomed large.  

KUNG FU PANDA 4 | Official Trailer

DreamWorks Animation Kung Fu Panda 4 Plot

Does anyone remember all three of the Kung Fu Panda films? Do you remember any of their plots? Chances are, many people don’t. But if you do, kudos to you. The first film revolves around Po coming to terms with his limitations and becoming the Dragon Warrior; the second film uncovers Po’s past and his lineage while the third allows him to reconnect with his heritage and balance both his old and new lives.

In-between all three of them there were plot points driven by the story’s antagonists. Two of which had a personal stake against Po. With all three of them resolved, how would you continue Po’s story? By forcing him to be the “Spiritual Leader” of the Valley and find a successor to the “Dragon Warrior” title. That was no ideal way to go about the story for DreamWorks Animation Kung Fu Panda 4.

DreamWorks Animation Kung Fu Panda 4 plot had no personal connections with Po and made the entire movie feel meaningless. Truth be told with a plot like that, it would have best ended up as an extended episode of “Kung-Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness”. Because the efforts seem to be placed on the new character named Zhen, played by Awkwafina. The storyline had a more personal connection with her despite being a side character.

DreamWorks Animation Kung Fu Panda 4 - Poster - Deshi Geek
DreamWorks Animation Kung Fu Panda 4 – Poster – Deshi Geek

The Forgettable Antagonist

Ask anyone who’s watched any DreamWorks film, what they do best that no other animation studio can do. Their answer: Memorable Villains! Ever since Tai Lung from the first Kung Fu Panda film, DreamWorks has carved this unseen method of making their villains tick. Whether it is Shen or the most recent yet memorable, Death. However, the same cannot be said for DreamWorks Animation Kung Fu Panda 4.

Even Kai who had his running gag of being forgotten in history, had a compelling backstory. And then there’s the antagonist, The Chameleon. She could have been a formidable challenge for him, but instead, became the most disposable villain that surpassed Kai’s ability to be forgotten. Her motives don’t even help either; it could’ve been executed well but, DreamWorks Animation Kung Fu Panda 4 missed the mark.

Kung Fu Panda 4 | Sand & Spice Trailer

The Missing Pieces

We’ve all seen the trailer for DreamWorks Animation Kung Fu Panda 4. Did we notice one particular point in the trailer that made us worried about the movie? If so, what was it? If guessed the lack of Furious 5, your guess was correct. The Furious 5 is an integral part of the Kung Fu Panda franchise, one that holds great value. Po’s journey with each of them, especially Tigress helps with his personal growth.

Even in the “Legends of Awesomeness” TV show, Po has his moments with each member of the Furious 5. In short, they are the friends in F.R.I.E.N.D.S. But since Po has already achieved his highest status as the Dragon Warrior, the creators thought that they would not need the Furious 5 for this story (and of course, the unavailability of the cast). Despite that, they brought Tai Lung back. Right?

If you were expecting a dream team of Po and Tai Lung, to put aside their differences and work together to take down a big bad, you were wrong. I could spoil it for you, but then again, I shouldn’t.

DreamWorks Animation Kung Fu Panda 4 - Still - Deshi Geek
DreamWorks Animation Kung Fu Panda 4 – Still – Deshi Geek

Should You Watch DreamWorks Animation Kung Fu Panda 4?

Despite all the points and flaws that I have dissected, the question may arise “Should I watch DreamWorks Animation Kung Fu Panda 4?” The answer is a bit tricky. It is an obvious cash grab of a sequel that offers no valid reason to give it a view unless you are a die-hard fan of the franchise. But then again, it leaves hope for a sequel that may feature the newly introduced character of Zhen whom Po has chosen as his successor.

In the final credits, we get to see Zhen practice alongside the Furious 5 and Po, using his street skills and the training from the Valley to pick pace faster than Po did. And who knows, a friend of mine predicts that the sequel (should it happen) may feature a conflict between Po and Zhen as the latter still gets used to the newly bestowed title. Till then, it’s best to consider that Kung Fu Panda exists as a Trilogy.



If my name didn't give it away, I am a Baka and an Otaku. And, I do a pretty good job at being both of them. More often than not at the same time.

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