Kung Fu Panda 2 (Review)

Jack Black is back for another round of animated mayhem

May 26, 2011 at 2:06 pm

Grand-scale animated spectacle in an atmosphere of China's exotic natural beauty is part and parcel to DreamWorks Animation's winning sequel to the 2008 original. Although the filmmakers only take full advantage of the film's 3-D aspect once to allow Jack Black's panda character Po to discharge dumplings across the fourth wall, the animation is gorgeous.

Now that Po has mastered the art of kung fu, he must learn inner peace. So advises his kung fu master Shifu (once again voiced by Dustin Hoffman). Angelina Jolie, Seth Rogen, Jackie Chan, David Cross and Lucy Liu also return from the first installment to fulfill their roles as the "Furious Five" creatures that represent different styles of kung fu. Since we saw him last Po has graduated to the title of Dragon Warrior. He believes his kung fu is invincible. That is until he encounters the soldiers of an evil albino peacock named Lord Shen (voiced by Gary Oldman).

On a mission to kill kung fu and conquer all of China, Lord Shen is on a rampage to pillage metal from every regional community for use in building an arsenal of powerful cannons. A well-executed optical illusion causes Po to lose an important battle when a symbol on his rival's uniform brings back otherwise forgotten memories about his past as an abandoned baby. Po sets about on a journey of self-discovery to find the identity of his real father. His bumpy path to achieving inner peace coincides with his unrelenting efforts to defeat Lord Shen. The cartoon martial arts violence approaches an epic level of exaggeration. Whether or not that's a good thing is a question parents will have to grapple with themselves. Grade: B

Opens May 27. Check out theaters and show times, see the trailer and get theater details here.