Kung Fu Panda 2 (2011)

(On TV, January 2015)  I wish I had something substantial to say about this film… but I don’t.  It’s a certainly follow-up to the original, and its best quality is how it manages to incorporate more of the “Furious Five” group in the story as opposed to an all-Panda show.  (Angelina Jolie’s Tigress even get a few memorable moments that are authentically hers.) I have mixed feelings about how it goes back to the protagonist’s history in order to reveal another layer of hidden secrets –that kind of thing may deepen the series mythology, but it makes it all look interconnected to a degree that’s not always worth scrutiny.  The action sequences, at least, aren’t too bad: there’s a chase set in an urban environment that’s dynamic and fun to a degree that wasn’t seen in the original.  There is some very nice design work here that goes beyond the simple parody or homage to other movies, and it’s coupled with a tone that doesn’t seem as anachronistic as in the prequel.  In the end, people who liked the first film a lot should also enjoy this one, and that’s almost all one asks of a sequel.

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