Jack Black’s newest installment in this kids’ movie franchise is a disappointing missed opportunity

Mar 13, 2024

It has been a little while since audiences have seen or heard from Jack Black – the last time was in Super Mario Bros.

Audiences seemed to appreciate that the movie was remarkably apolitical and stayed true to the popular Nintendo game.

But now Jack Black is back in theaters with his latest installment of a hit franchise that is a missed opportunity for America’s children.

Woke or Watch review of Kung Fu Panda 4

As the title would suggest, Kung Fu Panda 4 is the fourth installment of the hit children’s animation franchise from DreamWorks.

This time out, Po – voiced by Jack Black – is a seasoned Dragon Warrior fresh off his latest victory over a monster with eyes set on destroying the Valley of Peace.

But despite being in his prime, Po’s master mentor says it’s time for Po to retire and begin training a new Dragon Warrior.

Po is reluctant and has other ideas.

The movie follows Po and a fox thief, Zhen – voiced by crass YouTuber Awkwafina – on their journey to take out the Chameleon.

Your Woke or Watch team reviews Kung Fu Panda 4 to see if it delivers a good message for children or if it’s just the latest woke propaganda vehicle coming out of Hollywood.

Is it woke?

The basic message of Kung Fu Panda 4 is redemption and that it’s never too late to start living right.

It could have been such a powerful message.

However, the message gets lost in lazy writing and, of course, fitting in all the woke tropes.

It’s easy to forget the possibility of redemption when watching Kung Fu Panda 4 and instead focus on the “anything a man can do, a woman can do better” theme that runs throughout the animated film.

Po wins his first fight with Zhen, but only because she lets him.

Later, the two would tussle again, this time to a standoff.

Po is the heavily trained – and huge – Dragon Warrior, Zhen is a petty thief with no explained training in fighting.

The Chameleon is a sorceress who, because of discrimination from kung fu masters in her past, decided to turn evil.

The movie depicts her easily defeating every enemy from Po’s past – enemies he struggled to overcome – with the greatest of ease.

Not only did the movie try to garner sympathy for the female antagonist, but it also did the same with the thief sidekick.

Zhen says she only turned to a life of crime because she lived in society-caused poverty.

This advances the soft-on-crime phony narrative of the Left that all criminals are just good-hearted Aladdin’s trying to put food on their tables.

There’s also a running gag about Po having two dads.

The movie is insistent on constantly reminding viewers that Po has two loud and proud dads.

They don’t go as far as coming out and saying that the close friends and co-workers are a gay couple, but the animated interactions between the two heavily hints they might be.

There’s also a clear shot at Ben Shapiro in the film.

The Chameleon – voiced by Viola Davis – says, “No one cares about your feelings.”

It’s an obvious knock against Shapiro’s “facts don’t care about your feelings.”

While the woke elements of Kung Fu Panda 4 aren’t enough to cause huge bouts of frustration, they are enough to induce some eye-rolling, and for those reasons, our team rates the movie as moderately woke.

Is it worth a watch?

With a cast of voice actors including Jack Black, Viola Davis, Dustin Huffman, Bryan Cranston, and Ian McShane, combined with DreamWork’s reputation, all the ingredients were in place for Kung Fu Panda 4 to be a fun flick with a positive message for kids.

However, the writing in Kung Fu Panda is lazy, tired, and stale.

They took an interesting concept about an enemy who can take the shape of all of Po’s past predators and made an entire film around it.

The characters are underdeveloped, and their motivations are never truly fleshed out.

Because of this, Po and Zhen’s adventure and final boss battle don’t feel very adventurous.

Awkwafina’s performance makes Zhen very unlikeable – and the rest of the all-star cast seem to phone in their performances.

The movie does include some lines that will have both the kids and the adults in the audience laughing.

The most fun comes from an Asian-style instrumental version of Ozzy Osbourne’s Crazy Train and a Jack Black cover of Brittany Spears’ Hit Me Baby One More Time.

Aside from that, our team rates Kung Fu Panda 4 as only worth watching if your child is a big fan of the franchise.

And even then, it would be wise to counter the woke narratives that pop up throughout the cartoon while watching.

*Read All About It Official Polling*

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