(Jennifer Yuh Nelson, 2011)
An obvious and largely winning attempt to replicate the success of the original film by slavishly recreating every element that made it so popular, Kung Fu Panda 2 settles for efficiency rather than inspiration. That isn't a criticism; it works marvellously at extending snd deepening the world and characters of the first film whilst recreating the mix of faithful homage to Chinese Wuxia cinema and knockabout Jack Black comedy. Black is key to the tone here, always undercutting the intense drama or the sentimentality but allowing enough of it to remain that the film always has some emotional interest. The animation is fine, the action scenes thrilling, often beautiful, and well-conceived and choreographed in such a way that no live action film could possibly match, nicely mingling slapstick and action.
Gary Oldman is the villain, a role he could play in his sleep, and the whole thing races along from one set piece to another before an appropriately massive finale and the inevitable set-up for another sequel.