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Walnut High School | 400 Pierre Rd. Walnut, Calif. 91789

the hoofprint

Walnut High School | 400 Pierre Rd. Walnut, Calif. 91789

the hoofprint

Walnut High School | 400 Pierre Rd. Walnut, Calif. 91789

Kung Fu Panda 4 struggles to recapture the movie magic

**SPOILER WARNING** Released on Mar. 8, Kung Fu Panda 4 has continued to disappoint with its rushed plot and predictable twists
The movie poster for Kung Fu Panda 4 featuring the main character, Po, in the center.
Photo source: Universal Pictures
The movie poster for “Kung Fu Panda 4” featuring the main character, Po, in the center.

After embarking on several dangerous journeys and defeating countless villains, it is time for the main protagonist, Po, to pass his staff to the next dragon warrior. As someone who grew up with the Kung Fu Panda franchise, I was really excited for the release of “Kung Fu Panda 4” after eight years since the last movie. Although it was heartwarming and nostalgic, I felt that the film was a disappointment as it could not replicate the previous movies’ magic. 

Following the defeat of General Kai, the main antagonist of “Kung Fu Panda 3,” the next step in Po’s journey is to become the spiritual leader of the Valley of Peace. However, a new enemy is in the midst, where an evil sorceress, the Chameleon, threatens to take over the world. Po works with Zhen, a crafty fox, to stop her. However, he gets double-crossed and has the Staff of Wisdom stolen, which allows the Chameleon to summon Kung Fu masters from the spirit realm and steal their powers. 

I found the entire plot needed more development as everything felt rushed, making the film feel like a filler episode. When Zhen was first introduced, the timing of the situation made it easy to predict that she was going to be the next dragon warrior, as no one else was suited for the role. Not only that, unlike the previous films, there was no message or lesson learned, rather it was just a 94-minute show with Po’s mediocre jokes. Moreover, the film portrayed Po as the perfect dragon warrior, ruining the purpose of this arc, which was to find a successor and allow Po to focus on his duties as a spiritual leader. 

What was more frustrating was the lack of screen time for some of my favorite characters, such as the Furious Five. The first two movies focused on developing their characters. Some of the best fighting scenes from previous Kung Fu Panda movies included the Furious Five. I felt that they should’ve played a major part in this film and helped Po in his journey of becoming the spiritual leader of the Valley of Peace, just like how they supported him when he was learning how to become the dragon warrior. Instead, they only show up in a brief cameo towards the end of the movie without any dialogue. 

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Despite the negatives of this movie, it was great to see characters like Master Shifu, Mr. Ping and Li being included in the film, supporting Po and motivating him in the most important moments.

Dreamworks Animation has delivered some iconic animations over the years; however, “Kung Fu Panda 4” failed to meet my expectations and possibly those of many others who have adored the franchise. I hope that in the next Kung Fu Panda movie, there is more emphasis on already developed characters and a more meaningful story. I would give it a rating of 2 out of 5 stars.

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About the Contributor
George Wang, Sports editor
Hi my name is George Wang, I’m in the 10th grade, and I’m the Sports editor for The Hoofprint. Outside of The Hoofprint, I am on the boys tennis team. In my free time I enjoy gaming and tennis.
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