Kung Fu Panda 2 Reviews
Part of the problem with this sequel is how little it lets its star just riff with silly abandon, as he did throughout the original, rather than advance the serious themes set out by Yuh Nelson and her crew.
Director Jennifer Yuh Nelson's true cannon fist is how seamlessly "Panda's" wild skirmishes mesh with its eloquent narrative, even if there are less pauses for reflection this time 'round.
The film's visuals are thrilling, beguiling, vivid: the greens of a glade or a terraced hillside; the molten reds of Shen's smelting works or yellow-orange arcs of fireworks.
This entry aims to expand the series both in storytelling terms and visually. It introduces emotionally complex issues, and literally adds new scope via 3-D. In each case, the payoff is impressive.
What really makes the film work... is director Yuh's sense of timing. She knows how to get in and out of a joke before beating it to death. A quick Pac-Man reference during a chase comes and goes, delighting without ever dragging.
Po and friends redeem themselves with a terrific third act, the animation (in three distinct styles) is superb and there's enough hiii-YA-ing to keep the kids yipping throughout.