Reviews provided by RottenTomatoes
"Kung Fu Panda 2" is a sequel that delivers more heart than laughs, and is, if anything, more visually dazzling than the 2008 original film.
At times, Kung Fu Panda 2 suggests Bambi redone as an episode of Oprah. Yet it's a more-than-worthy sequel.
Kung Fu Panda 2 packs lots of firepower: detailed, reach-out-and-touch creature design, lush settings, big 3D action set-pieces.
New York Times:
Accomplishes the depressingly familiar mathematical trick of being both more and less than its predecessor.
The animation is always jazzy, especially some dazzling dream sequences -- one involves a radish schooled in the martial arts -- that seem indebted to Genndy Tartakovsky's Samurai Jack.
Wall Street Journal:
Hardly a scene goes by that isn't visually striking or kinetically thrilling, and all of it enhanced by 3-D.
This thin follow-up feels like a betrayal of its predecessor's accomplishments and goodwill, cheapening what worked in the first place to emphasize some wrong things this time around - particularly the film's 3-D presentation.
The original film was a compelling surprise, an unusually fun and sophisticated take on the wacky-animal CGI movie. The sequel remains visually beautiful and strikingly designed, but otherwise, it's a surprise in all the wrong ways.
A precisely calibrated crowd-pleasing machine, balancing action, comedy and just the bare minimum of pathos.
Part of the problem with this sequel is how little it lets its star just riff with silly abandon, as he did throughout the original, rather than advance the serious themes set out by Yuh Nelson and her crew.
Christian Science Monitor:
For a movie touting "inner peace," this 3-D sequel sure goes in for its share of battle scenes, but for the most part they are excitingly conceived by director Jennifer Yuh Nelson and her writers, Jonathan Aibel and Glenn Berger.
Dallas Morning News:
No, we're not talking about Lord Voldemort and Harry Potter, although it does feel that way early on in the animated Kung Fu Panda 2.
The film's visuals are thrilling, beguiling, vivid: the greens of a glade or a terraced hillside; the molten reds of Shen's smelting works or yellow-orange arcs of fireworks.
What really makes the film work... is director Yuh's sense of timing. She knows how to get in and out of a joke before beating it to death. A quick Pac-Man reference during a chase comes and goes, delighting without ever dragging.
Los Angeles Times:
That expressiveness combined with the talented voice cast brings a nuance, a sense of reality that is hard to achieve in animation.
Like that kung pao chicken at the back of your fridge, none of it's quite as crisp the second time around.
The freshness and novelty that made the original film such a kick back in 2008 has been, well, kicked to bits.
New York Daily News:
Director Jennifer Yuh Nelson's true cannon fist is how seamlessly "Panda's" wild skirmishes mesh with its eloquent narrative, even if there are less pauses for reflection this time 'round.
New York Post:
Po and friends redeem themselves with a terrific third act, the animation (in three distinct styles) is superb and there's enough hiii-YA-ing to keep the kids yipping throughout.
Jack Black once again shows his excellence as a voice actor.
The animation is elegant, the story is much more involving than in the original, and there's boundless energy.
San Francisco Chronicle:
Alas, this time there are about three or four mild laughs in the whole picture, and the entire visual aspect of the movie is a botched disappointment.
Minneapolis Star Tribune:
This entry aims to expand the series both in storytelling terms and visually. It introduces emotionally complex issues, and literally adds new scope via 3-D. In each case, the payoff is impressive.
Globe and Mail:
The kinder, gentler Kung Fu Panda 2 will surely try the patience of older children and fun-seeking parents.
Has a bright palette, an amiable vibe and enough vivacity to keep kids entertained and any accompanying moms from bolting for Bridesmaids.
A solid slice of summer entertainment: forgettable, perhaps, but plenty of fun while it lasts.
Black's Po manages to retain his requisite bumptiousness while also making a credible action hero.
It may not tread new narrative ground, but Panda echoes some worthy tales that parents heard a long time ago at a theater far, far away.
While not as fresh as the first, the sequel certainly makes good on its promise.
[A] satisfying, if less than sensational, sequel to the funny, charming and action-packed animated feature from 2008.