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Of course it's a rare thing for sequels to be better than the original, especially for animated movies. It's hard to say if this movie is truly a better one than its original predecessor but it at least is on some fronts.

Looking back at it, the first "Kung Fu Panda" movie was really one that set up its characters. This movie wastes absolutely no time on that and gets right into the action. Quite literally and it never really ever stops or slows down and I mean this as a positive thing. This is a real action flick, that is filled with some spectacular looking fight scenes, that are well animated and choreographed.

And compared to the first, this movie has also vastly improved visually. You could tell the the animation techniques had been improved over the years (the first movie was released in 2008) and this no longer looks like an in-between movie for Dreamworks, which was perhaps still a bit the case for the first movie.

But it has not improved just visually but it seems that it's more matured as well. And with that I mean its story, characters and comedy. It has very little childish humor and characters in it and it seems that they focused more on the older audience as well this time. It's not simply just a kids movie but it's a great adventure- and action filled movie, which the whole family can enjoy together.

This are most of the things that make this an even better and more enjoyable movie to watch than the first one was already. But there are also some things that are less great about it.

The story unfortunately really isn't that special. I personally feel it could had done with one or two more little side-plots. It could had made things more interesting, since it now mostly is being a very straightforward movie, that follows mainly one main plot line, which was a bit of a simplistic one to begin with.

Also the main villain was a bit lacking. He just never came across as all that threatening, despite the fact that he got voiced by Gary Oldman. Or perhaps it's simply just because a peacock of course doesn't look all that powerful or threatening. No, I definitely still preferred the villain out of the first movie (the snow leopard Tai Lung), who was simply awesome in it.

Oh and I still don't understand why such minor characters had to be voiced by such big stars. It really doesn't matter or impresses much that Dustin Hoffman's, Angelina Jolie's, Jackie Chan's, Seth Rogen's and Lucy Liu's voices are in this movie, since they hardly have any lines at all and their characters might as well just had been voiced by a couple of unknowns and not much would had been all that different about it. But oh well, at least the movie is consistent with this, since this also was probably still the biggest complaint about the first movie, in which mostly the same characters and actors appear.

So in some ways it's better than the first and in others it's worse. But overall it is a more than welcome sequel that more than serves its purpose and is watchable and suitable for basically all ages.

8/10

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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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