Kung Fu Panda 4 parents guide

Kung Fu Panda 4 Parent Guide

This sequel lacks the depth of the original film, but it's still fun and family-friendly.

Overall B

Theaters: After many successful years as The Dragon Warrior, Po has been asked to become the Spiritual Leader of the Valley of Peace. But before he can do that he needs to train a new Dragon Warrior and defeat a shape-shifting lizard who wants to re-summon all of the villains Po has defeated.

Release date March 8, 2024

Violence B
Sexual Content A
Profanity A
Substance Use A

Why is Kung Fu Panda 4 rated PG? The MPAA rated Kung Fu Panda 4 PG or martial arts action/mild violence, scary images and some mild rude humor.

Run Time: 94 minutes

Parent Movie Review

Po (Jack Black) has settled into his role as The Dragon Warrior, protecting the Valley of Peace from anyone who dares to challenge him. When Master Shifu (Dustin Hoffman) informs him that it is time for him to become a Spiritual Leader and choose the next Dragon Warrior, Po isn’t ready to take that step. Instead, he decides to go on one last adventure, to defeat a mysterious new shapeshifting villain, The Chameleon (Viola Davis).

Po won’t be alone on this adventure, as he recruits Zhen (Awkwafina), a thief with fast fingers and a slippery grasp on right and wrong. But her street smarts prove to be invaluable, as the two travel to Juniper City, a bustling metropolis with a seedy underground.

I will admit that I am not familiar with the Kung Fu Panda sequels. I’ve seen the original a few times and think it’s great, but never got around to either of the subsequent entries in the franchise. To prepare for this film, I watched a YouTube recap so let’s pretend I’m an expert. The franchise is known for tackling surprisingly deep themes despite of its silly premise (and ubiquitous fart jokes) while maintaining high levels of directorial and design quality. With such a large gap between this installment and the last, as well as many notable voice actor absences, I expected a drop in quality. And I was correct. The design and animation are still high quality, and there are some interesting visual elements, but nowhere near what the franchise is capable of.

Jack Black is trying his absolute best, and he is, as always, charismatic, hilarious, and heartfelt. However, the script isn’t as funny as past ones, the story meanders, and it lacks the depth of the original. I personally am not a fan of Awkwafina, though she is less annoying in this role than I usually find her. Her character has some interesting layers, though she could have used another rewrite, as some of her development feels rushed. It’s extremely obvious which actors didn’t want to come back (or the studio didn’t want to pay), which became almost funny at times as characters would appear on screen but wouldn’t speak.

Flaws aside, the absolute highlight of the film is the Tenacious D cover of “Baby One More Time” that plays over the end credits. YouTube it; you’ll thank me later.

Although not reaching the heights of its predecessors, Kung Fu Panda 4 is a perfectly acceptable family film. It has some great messages around accepting change even when it’s scary, choosing to do the right thing, and developing trust. There are some laughs, and the fight sequences are well choregraphed. My son really enjoyed the film, and so did the other kids in the theatre. The only content concern of note is the violence, but it’s at the same level as the rest of the franchise, so parents should have some idea what to expect. I think Po is a great character, and he makes the film fun to watch, even if some of the elements around him aren’t quite up to par.

Directed by Mike Mitchell, Stephanie Stine. Starring Jack Black, Awkwafina, Viola Davis. Running time: 94 minutes. Theatrical release March 8, 2024. Updated

Watch the trailer for Kung Fu Panda 4

Kung Fu Panda 4
Rating & Content Info

Why is Kung Fu Panda 4 rated PG? Kung Fu Panda 4 is rated PG by the MPAA or martial arts action/mild violence, scary images and some mild rude humor.

Violence:   There is stylized martial arts fighting throughout, with fists, swords, and staffs. A character is pushed down a flight of stairs. There are some moments of peril.
Sexual Content: None.
Profanity: Characters use some mild insults.
Alcohol / Drug Use: There is a joke about “drinking like a fish”, but the character is drinking water.

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Kung Fu Panda 4 Parents' Guide

Why doesn’t Po want to stop being the Dragon Warrior? What is he afraid of? Why is change scary sometimes and how can we embrace it?

Home Video

Related home video titles:

This film follows Kung Fu Panda, Kung Fu Panda 2, and Kung Fu Panda 3.

For more animated martial arts mayhem you can try Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank.

Animated movies with Chinese backdrops include Abominable, Mulan, or Ne Zha.