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The Catalyst

The Student News Site of Millard West High School

The Catalyst

The Student News Site of Millard West High School

The Catalyst

Return of the fur-fu master

“Kung Fu Panda 4” is released after eight years of waiting
Kung Fu Panda 4 premiered on March 8, 2024, in theaters around the world.
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“Kung Fu Panda 4” premiered on March 8, 2024, in theaters around the world.

Based in the heart of China, nestled within the Valley of Peace,  director Mike Mitchell revived the Dragon Warrior for a triumphant return to movie screens after years of anticipation. 

In 2008, the first Kung-Fu Panda movie was released. The film introduced the main character Po, a panda, who accidentally became the Dragon Warrior. We also met the Furious FiveTigress, Monkey, Mantis, Viper and Crane. The second movie was released a short three years later in 2011, which is my favorite one in the franchise. The third film came out in 2016 and everyone assumed that would be the last one but then in 2022, Kung Fu Panda Four was announced, with the same characters. After the release of the third, viewers were left feeling warm and cuddly so the thought of a new one came as quite a shock. 

Released on Mar. 8, 2024, “Kung Fu Panda 4” mirrors friendship and self-discovery, drawing parallels between humor and adversity throughout Po’s journey to find a new Dragon Warrior

We are re-introduced at the movie’s beginning with almost all of the original characters. About 20 minutes into the movie, we see Master Shifu meet with Po and tell him needs to retire the Dragon Warrior title and become the new Spiritual Leader of the Valley. This comes as a shock to all due to Po recently acquiring the job. In an effort to prove to Master Shifu that he is meant to be the Dragon Warrior, Po trecks to take down a shape-shifting sorceress who wants to steal his Staff of Wisdom and gather the abilities of the villains that have died. 

While trying to find a way to take down the Chameleon, Po brings along a thieving Fox named Zhen who claims to have an inside with the Chameleon. Po and Zhen travel to Juniper City by themselves because the Furious Five is absent from the film entirely. Which doesn’t align with the other movies because the main point is how they work together as a team. We are told they are off on solo missions but the beauty of the five is how their abilities shine when working together so the theme of Kung Fu Panda is already disrupted 20 minutes in. 

Sadly, in a predictable twist, Po is betrayed by Zhen and is captured by the Chameleon. Later in the film, Po can escape with the help of Zhen when she discovers her inner peace and who she wants to be.

By the end of the movie, Po can use Kung Fu and his abilities to defeat the Chameleon and return the souls of the villains to the Spirit Realm. The ending scene ties in with themes of friendship and also reminds us that even when we appear weak, we can still be strong. This movie was said to be one of the worst the franchise has ever produced. I thought it was cute but it failed to answer a lot of the questions I had when watching the film. I enjoyed the new characters but I strongly disliked how rushed it felt and how the movie came together without the Furious Five. Watching the movie almost felt like watching a different series because it was so inconsistent with the others.


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About the Contributor
Delaney Lueck
Delaney Lueck, Features Editor
Delaney is a senior and this is her first year on the CATalyst staff, but third year with journalism. In Yearbook, she has had a past role of Copy-Editor. Outside of journalism, Delaney enjoys taking pictures, spending time with friends, traveling, being with family, and being a part of the track team.

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