SPOILERS INVOLVED HERE:Kung Fu Panda 2 exists as not only a wonderful film, but a benchmark for sequels in general. The animation is fantastic, the story is deep and dark, the characters evolve, and the acting is tremendous!Starting with the animation. This is a very energetic and fast moving film for the most part, and the animation follows suit. It's bright and colorful. It is a feast for the eyes, and it doesn't insult the audience by skipping through the animation too quickly. I don't know if it directly came from Guillermo Del Toro's involvement or not, but the story here took a very dark turn from the original. Po's past comes into play leading to some very real tear-jerking moments. Particularly his flashback to his last memories of his parents. This is handled with very little dialogue in two different animation styles. Po's budding friendship with Tigress is explored in this film. There are some very adorable and intense scenes between these two. It could almost be construed as a possible future romance, but this is just an interpretation. Po and Tigress have both taken steps forward as characters in this story. Tigress grows to accept and even like Po. This is a relief after her hard nosed disrespect for him in the first. Po is still a large clumsy Panda for the most part. He has learned Kung Fu and realized his dream, and has even shown to grow up a bit. He has some very serious moments this time. Jack Black is, as usual, very funny and breezy in this one. It's simply Jack Black being Jack Black, nothing special. Overall good. The real scene thief in this film is Gary Oldman. His slow, creepy voice is perfect for the calculating Lord Shen. His character and design is the opposite to Tai-Lung from the first. Lord Shen is the most interesting character is this film by far. Gary Oldman is always fantastic in his villain roles, and this is one of his best. His masterful voice work dwarfs just about any other animated villain of the modern age. Overall this is a wonderful sequel that builds upon everything established in the original in the best way possible. 10/10. It is mind-blowing just how great this turned out to be, considering it is a sequel. The world general agrees that follow-ups rarely match the original in quality, let alone to succeed it. Kung Fu Panda 2 is a better film than the original. Due mostly to the dark and engaging story-line, the growth of some characters, the fast paced animation, and in particular Gary Oldman's incredible performance.
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