disclosure: We were invited to a special preview of KUNG FU PANDA 4  in order to facilitate this review. All opinions are our own. No other compensation was received.  This post may contain affiliate links.

I know what you are thinking. The burning question everyone has right now – is a FOURTH Kung Fu Panda movie really necessary? It has been 8 years since Kung Fu Panda 3, and 16 yrs since the franchise began in 2008. There have been a few Netflix series for kids in between. But what could this next installment possibly offer anyone? And is this the family movie everyone should see? Let’s chat about this, spoiler free of course.

About Kung Fu Panda 4

After three death-defying adventures defeating world-class villains with his unmatched courage and mad martial arts skills, Po, the Dragon Warrior (Golden Globe nominee Jack Black), is called upon by destiny to … give it a rest already. More specifically, he’s tapped to become the Spiritual Leader of the Valley of Peace.

That poses a couple of obvious problems. First, Po knows as much about spiritual leadership as he does about the paleo diet, and second, he needs to quickly find and train a new Dragon Warrior before he can assume his new lofty position.

Even worse, there’s been a recent sighting of a wicked, powerful sorceress, Chameleon (Oscar® winner Viola Davis), a tiny lizard who can shapeshift into any creature, large or small. And Chameleon has her greedy, beady little eyes on Po’s Staff of Wisdom, which would give her the power to re-summon all the master villains whom Po has vanquished to the spirit realm.

So, Po’s going to need some help. He finds it (kinda?) in the form of crafty, quick-witted thief Zhen (Golden Globe winner Awkwafina), a corsac fox who really gets under Po’s fur but whose skills will prove invaluable. In their quest to protect the Valley of Peace from Chameleon’s reptilian claws, this comedic odd-couple duo will have to work together. In the process, Po will discover that heroes can be found in the most unexpected places.

The film features the voice talent of returning stars Academy Award® winner Dustin Hoffman as Kung Fu master, Shifu; James Hong (Everything Everywhere All at Once) as Po’s adoptive father, Mr. Ping; Academy Award® nominee Bryan Cranston as Po’s birth father, Li, and Emmy Award nominee Ian McShane as Tai Lung, Shifu’s former student and arch-nemesis. Oscar® winner Ke Huy Quan (Everything Everywhere All at Once) joins the ensemble as a new character, Han, the leader of the Den of Thieves.

My Thoughts

kung fu panda 4I enjoyed the very first Kung Fu Panda, but noticed that the second and third installments followed a more dark, serious tone. Po struggles with a lot of internal conflict in every movie, so I was not surprised to find Po struggling yet again. These struggles and Po’s initial resistance to change are relatable, and serve as a reminder that anyone can do anything once they put their mind to it. Change is scary, but if we don’t change we cannot grow.

Action is plentiful in this installment, but what really surprised me was the lack of laughter. There were a few scenes where the audience audibly chuckled, but the overall tone of this movie is action, action, action. But, it is a kung-fu movie, so that is expected.

The actual story itself is not incredibly predictable, but it is also not extremely noteworthy. Luckily, the 94 minute runtime helps keep this movie on track. The story seemed to flow and wrapped up neatly in enough time.

Is this a movie for ALL ages?

Just because a movie is animated does not mean it is for all ages. Kung Fu Panda 4 is rated PG for martial arts action/mild violence, scary images, and some mild rude humor

Kung Fu Panda 4 is pretty intense for the littlest of little ones. There are many red eyes, fight scenes and villains. Chameleon is one scary lizard, and I did witness a few littles that had their eyes covered throughout her scenes. But, there were no cries or parents that had to step out of the theater. I believe the action kept these littles in their seats – they were excited to see what was going to happen, even if it meant they had to “hide their eyes” for a few scenes.

If you are looking for an action-packed animated film for your kids, this is the movie for you. There are no princesses, nothing sparkly, no sing-along songs. This movie does not lag at any point, which does make it easier for little ones to sit through. There is always something happening.


I would give this movie an 8 out of 10, as the messages shared are useful reminders for everyone, the action was plentiful and Jack Black’s version of a Britney Spears song was priceless. There is not a post credit scene, but there is a bonus scene just before the credits , which most definitely points to Kung Fu Panda 5.

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Kung Fu Panda 4 is in theaters now. Will you see this movie? Be sure to let me know what you thought in the comments below.

What do you think?

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