Wesley R. Ball’s review published on Letterboxd:
What are you gonna do, big guy? Sit on me?
Don't tempt me.
Compared to Pixar's luscious filmography, the lineup in Dreamworks Animation's history has been less than great to me. Whereas Pixar films display a unique sense of ingenuity, Dreamworks tends to cater to the younger audiences, leaving out the adults with unrelentingly juvenile humor and base story lines. It's not necessarily bad, but I always find myself preferring Pixar films over Dreamworks. Take the two studios' most recent releases as examples. While Home really failed to strike any real sense of success with audiences, Pixar's Inside Out has proven to be a massive success and a true return to form for the studio that had been slumping for the past few years. While Kung Fu Panda is by no means a terrible film, it doesn't particularly appeal to me, although it has its upsides.
For one, there's Dustin Hoffman, who proves to be the best part of the film. He brings about a sense of maturity in the film, which while it isn't really needed for a children's film, it helps increase the appeal to older audience members such as myself. Hoffman being a seasoned actor, he surprisingly had some of the funniest moments in the film for me, though Jack Black does have his bits. The star-studded Furious Five (who probably had an effect on the title of the fifth Fast & Furious installment) do add a nice sense of variety to the film as a whole, but does it really add enough to keep me interested? Not really.
What starts out as a ferocious bang quickly fizzles into a mediocre blend of action and juvenile humor. Never mind how a crane can be a father to a panda (which is supposed to be expounded upon in the unfortunately inevitable Kung Fu Panda 3), this is a children's film, daggummit! Such questions aren't meant to be brought up by the audience, and it really doesn't bother me in the least, because of that reason. Even without that little complaint, it's just not a film that appeals to me. It revels in stupidity, and pales in comparison to some of the great Pixar films (although it's certainly better than a couple of their endeavors). Anyone over the age of 12 probably isn't meant to enjoy this film as much (or of a higher IQ, since this was all we watched in my high school Spanish class), and it's obviously proved to be the biggest cash cow for Dreamworks, whose executives are probably suffering from a lack of occupancy in a comically large bank vault. Let's hope that the new threequel at least garners enough success to bring them out of the mud financially. After all, it does have the biggest chance, at this point.