After watching Kung Fu Panda 2, I felt it moved in a direction towards an authentic kung fu movie and away from the kiddie animated comedy.
Themes such as revenge, genocide, and personal tumult are tackled in the film and I thought that these were part of the maturation process of Po (voiced by Jack Black). Add to that a storyline that borrows a lot from the story of Oedipus the King, you have a film that's heavier and heftier emotionally. The vengeance angle, a common staple in kung fu flicks, is played subtly.
The animation of the film is top-notch and the action scenes are as good as they come, but what's lost is the sense of humor. The concept of "Inner Peace" is recurs throughout the film and it may be too alien a concept for younger (3-9 years old) viewers. Too bad because I felt there were still lighter themes the creators could have explored.
In any case, Po and the gang are going into darker territory and I think it's OK. Kung Fu Panda 2 could be the "Empire Strikes Back" of the franchise.
Technorati: Kung Fu Panda 2