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The Aquilian

A review of Kung Fu Panda 4

Po, the films protagonist, sitting by a cherry tree.

In my experience, when classic film series get up into the high sequels, the original flair that made the series special starts to get diluted. However, “Kung Fu Panda 4” preserves the flair that made the series special while managing to include new themes and characters that push the narrative to a new level. “Kung Fu Panda 4” is a must-watch new film that is sure to keep you entertained for its entirety.

In “Kung Fu Panda 4,” Po takes on a new role. Our beloved kung fu fighting dumpling-munching panda is selected by Master Shifu to continue as the Spiritual Leader of the Valley of Peace. It is great to see this character growth and a natural changing of the guard. Even though Po is hesitant at first to bear his new responsibilities, he steps up and does what he has to do. At the beginning of the “Kung Fu Panda” series, Po had a nervous and childish personality, but his character arc throughout the series has led to the noble and selfless leader that we see in “Kung Fu Panda 4.” 

Due to Po stepping up to assume the role as Spiritual Leader, he has to select someone to become the new Dragon Warrior. Zhen, a fox who is originally introduced as a bandit ends up being Po’s selection. Zhen’s character development stands as a testament to the idea that people can change, regardless of their past decisions. It is also great to see that Po was concrete in his decision to make Zhen the Dragon Warrior, even though Master Shifu doubted the decision. It shows that Po can now stand on his own feet and carve his own path as the Spiritual Leader of the Valley of Peace. Also, it is reassuring that the future Dragon Warrior, Zhen, will be a strong female role model for the next generation of “Kung Fu Panda” fanatics. 

It is difficult to compare “Kung Fu Panda 4” to the three “Kung Fu Panda” films that preceded it, because they are all equally important to the development of the narrative. Although the iconic battles and jokes of the earlier films can not be replicated in “Kung Fu Panda 4,” the themes of duty, family, love, and balance live on. I believe that this recent installment to the “Kung Fu Panda” saga was necessary, and I am glad to see the narrative carried on by a new generation of warriors. 

Overall, “Kung Fu Panda 4” was an excellent film and a necessary addition to the series. The “Kung Fu Panda” identity is not only preserved, but it is boosted by a few new characters and themes. It makes me happy, and almost proud, to see Po all grown up and taking over as Spiritual Leader of the Valley of Peace. I will be looking forward to following the development of Zhen in future “Kung Fu Panda” films. I can wholeheartedly recommend this film to anybody who would enjoy the perfect blend of Kung Fu, comedy and heartwarming character growth.

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