Kung Fu Panda is awesome. Humorous, beautiful, great characters, and my only complaint being the sound effect when Po bounces on something. Really, that’s the only one. Everything it does just hits every note perfectly. The joke with Po's father being a duck and no one EVERY questions it is PERFECT, and a surprisingly important social statement. The message of how being the Dragon Warrior and the skill is nothing but yourself is glorious. The prison escape was amazing. I just loved the whole thing.
Kung Fu Panda 2 took two viewings to be fair in this critique, and that is not normal for me. I got caught up in my head about the first one, and how the structure of the second one undoes a lot of the things I loved about the first, and how the interpersonal stuff just wasn’t there, and how the jokes were more forced this time it felt. Or at least, that's all I could think of the first time I watched it.
But I take it all back. That isn’t true. That is me projecting onto this film. I love Kung Fu Panda 2, and it is in many ways a stronger and more fulfilling film than the first. The universe is expanded, the fights are fantastic, the villain is truly villainous (and continues to prove that the only time I ever like Gary Oldman is when he is a voice actor villain), and we learn of the true history of our hero as he continues his journey. It does everything right.
... somewhere in the back of my mind, something still prickles. Something still bugs me. Maybe its how dark it is, and all the red making a lot of the scenes, while dramatic, a little monotonous looking. Maybe it’s the way that, like the first film, the final fight ends up being more joke than climax, but this time was less impactful and even jokier. I don’t know what it is. This movie is great, but I still just don’t like it ... as much.
I look very much forward to the third, and I want to see more characters in this universe, and just continue to learn things here. I am along for the ride. This second stretch was just a little bumpier than the first.