Kung Fu Panda

Movie review by
S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media
Kung Fu Panda Movie Poster Image
Parents recommendPopular with kids
Appealing kid-friendly comedy; some scary scenes.
  • PG
  • 2008
  • 88 minutes

Parents say

age 6+
Based on 82 reviews

Kids say

age 6+
Based on 111 reviews

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We think this movie stands out for:

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Educational Value

Meant to entertain rather than educate.

Positive Messages

Po discovers that there's no secret ingredient to greatness -- you just have to be yourself. This positive theme resonates throughout the film. The issue of eating as a coping mechanism is raised (Po has to learn self-control to break that habit). Additional themes include integrity, perseverance, and teamwork.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Po also has a good attitude in general, taking the Furious Five's initial chilliness in stride and ultimately giving his all to his training. Bad guy Tai Lung is a total bully -- but flashbacks soften his character slightly.

Violence & Scariness

Not surprisingly, there's lots of martial arts action -- expect tons of high-flying clashes that include punches, kicks, falls, and more. That said, the fights are generally more thrilling than frightening, though they could upset kids 5 and under -- particularly the sequence in which villain Tai Lung breaks out of a maximum security prison.

Sexy Stuff

Fairly clean, though the word "suck" is used prominently, and insults are hurled at Po by nearly everyone.


Lots of mentions of the fictional martial arts movies that the Furious Five and other kung fu masters were in. The movie also has many promotional tie-ins.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that kids are sure to enjoy Kung Fu Panda, which stars Jack Black as the voice of the relatable main character, Po. And its humor and heartwarming story will appeal to grown-ups, too. The movie boasts positive messages about being who you are and believing in yourself, but it is martial arts-themed, so expect plenty of fast-paced battle scenes with kicks, punches, falls, and more. Even though they're animated, some sequences -- especially the one in which intimidating villain Tai Lung escapes from prison -- may be too scary for kindergartners and younger. Families who buy this on DVD as part of the "Pandamonium Double Pack" are also getting a cartoon short called Secrets of the Furious Five

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent Written byStepMomSterToo November 11, 2010
Tai Lung's character is too scary for my 3 year old. The scenes are dark, the music is scary. It's got a lot of violence for younger children. My olde... Continue reading
Adult Written byNoobify November 25, 2020


Kid, 7 years old May 1, 2011
First I hate it then I love it.
Kid, 9 years old November 1, 2010
hilarious and exciting!!

What's the story?

KUNG FU PANDA asks the question -- can you achieve greatness if you're not destined for it? Of all the possible kung fu masters-to-be, Po (Jack Black) -- a lumbering, lovable panda -- seems the least likely candidate. Besides, his family's in the noodle business, and that's where his father (improbably, a goose) expects him to make his mark. But a snafu at the Jade Palace leaves Po as the top pick for the legendary Dragon Warrior. The position comes with a huge responsibility: The Dragon Warrior is charged with protecting the town from Tai Lung (Ian McShane), a brilliant kung fu master who crossed over to the dark side. He's been locked up for years, but now he's on his way to defeat Master Shifu (Dustin Hoffman) and his elite Furious Five. Can unlikely hero Po stand his ground and save the day?

Is it any good?

This family movie is a pleasure, and Po is the ideal animated incarnation of the engaging, electric Black. He's wonderful here, giving Po the perfect mix of irreverence and sincerity. When he meets his idols, the Furious Five -- Ferocious Tigress (Angelina Jolie), Crane (David Cross), Mantis (Seth Rogen), Viper (Lucy Liu), and Monkey (Jackie Chan) -- he's charmingly awestruck. To watch him metamorphose from clumsy kung fu fan to master is a delight. And the message -- there's no secret to greatness besides faith in yourself -- is admirable.

Kung Fu Panda's story may not be as inventive as, say, Finding Nemo, but it's undeniably charming. And there are definitely moments of brilliance: A training battle between Shifu and Po involving chopsticks and a lone dumpling will go down as one of the best in cartoon -- and maybe even kung fu -- history.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Po's decision to follow his dreams and pursue martial arts greatness in Kung Fu Panda. Was he right?

  • What makes Po different from the other heroes in the movie? What do they learn from him? How do they demonstrate teamwork?

  • What does Po's ease with himself teach young viewers? What makes him such a great kung fu warrior?

  • How do the characters in Kung Fu Panda demonstrate perseverance, self-control, and integrity? Why are these important character strengths?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love funny animated movies

Character Strengths

Find more movies that help kids build character.

Themes & Topics

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