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Kung Fu Panda 2

Movie review by
S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media
Kung Fu Panda 2 Movie Poster Image
Panda hero saves the day in surprisingly deep family film.
  • PG
  • 2011
  • 90 minutes
Parents recommendPopular with kids

Parents say

age 7+
Based on 58 reviews

Kids say

age 7+
Based on 77 reviews

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, but it offers positive lessons about friendship and teamwork.

Positive Messages

The main message is that family is important, but it's not always defined by blood: The people who love and nurture you are also part of your family. The film also focuses on the need to let go of ancient slights that can only drag you down and instead seek to achieve inner peace. Integrity, perseverance, and teamwork are additional themes.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Po is a great example of someone who must learn to accept -- and resolve -- complicated personal relationships. At first he refuses to acknowledge some hard truths, but eventually he's able to attain inner peace, and the results are powerful.

Violence & Scariness

Plenty of hand-to-hand combat. The fight scenes are fast and furious, but hardly anybody seems to get injured. An important theme here is modernization, as the martial arts warriors must face off against an opponent who's armed with gunpowder and cannons. Scenes involving a baby Po being separated from his parent (and the parent's implied death) may upset some kids.

Sexy Stuff

No product placement within the film, but lots of offline merchandise tie-ins.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Kung Fu Panda 2 is the sequel to 2008's hit animated film about an unlikely martial arts hero returns to China. Po (again voiced by Jack Black) and the rest of his kung fu clan must defeat a new villain who's armed with gunpowder and cannons. The movie's surprisingly poignant, sometimes serious story addresses the conflict between tradition and modernization, as well as Po's discovery of a long-hidden tragedy and his journey to accept an unusual upbringing. Not surprisingly, there's plenty of action -- including explosions, swordfights, and lots of kung fu fisticuffs. Scenes involving parent-child separation could also be upsetting for kids. Unlike the first film, this one is offered in 3-D, which can make some of the sequences feel more intense.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 3 and 6 year old Written byKazmom2 May 28, 2011

Adoptive Families - Be aware of the story!

There is a strong adoption story here, and while it is overall a very positive one, some of it is told in a way that will be hard for some kids. Basically Po f... Continue reading
Parent of a 7 and 9 year old Written bydavidmal770 May 30, 2011

Solid Storytelling & Strong Characters

My 7 yr old son and 9 yr old daughter both loved this movie. Like the original, it relies on solid storytelling and strong characters without any of the adult h... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old May 20, 2011


Omg i am such a fan of kung fu panda i am definitely gonna see the second.... I can't wait!!!!! po is such a great character and he is an excellent role mo... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old April 22, 2011

Jack is Black with more awesomeness and more Kung fu!!!!!!!!!

Kung fu panda 2 was the best movie of 2011 next to Harry potter and the deathly hollows part 2! I loved this movie, Why isn't this movie for little kids? I... Continue reading

What's the story?

In KUNG FU PANDA 2, Po (voiced by Jack Black), the out-of-shape panda who was improbably tapped to become the Dragon Warrior in the original Kung Fu Panda, is now a well-trained martial arts hero who must defeat a powerful villain armed with an unstoppable secret weapon. Backed up by the Furious Five and his teacher, Master Shifu, Po realizes that to defeat the evil Lord Shen (Gary Oldman), he must uncover a long-hidden secret about his own childhood and learn to attain inner peace. Angelina Jolie, Jackie Chan, Lucy Liu, Seth Rogen, David Cross, and Dustin Hoffman all reprise their roles as Po's comrades in this worthy sequel.

Is it any good?

There are so many ways tha this sequel could have gone wrong, but instead it's one of the best sequels to grace the screen in a while, fully able to stand on its own. It could have traded on the same old jokes. It could have had Po still proving himself. It could have had an identical theme song. Kung Fu Panda 2 does none of that.

First, there's the timing. The movie doesn't start exactly where the first installment left off but rather with Po and the Furious 5 already a well-trained unit. And then there's the plot. By taking the storyline in a more serious, though still entertaining, direction -- Po yearns to discover and understand where he came from, and the movie makes a strong point that your past need not define you -- it has more heft and heart, a potent and sometimes profound combination. And yet, the film is still whimsical and funny, with thrilling 3-D special effects to boot. (The trees and the landscapes are nearly palpable.) Now this is winning.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about family and how it's portrayed in Kung Fu Panda 2. What do you think about Po's relationship with his dad? Do you think a blood link is the most important factor in defining family?

  • What does Po learn in this movie? How does that compare to what he learned in the first one?

  • Do you think the film paints an unrealistic picture of ancient traditions? Is it possible to stand in the way of progress?

  • How do the characters in Kung Fu Panda 2 demonstrate integrity, perseverance, and teamwork? Why are those important character strengths?

Movie details

Character Strengths

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Themes & Topics

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