I watched this movie a few days ago. This review probably came a little late since the movie is reaching the last few weeks of its theater-life. The wikipedia article has the entire spoiler for the movie, so if you would like to know the story instead, you might choose to go there.
I would actually go so far as to say that I was disappointed with the movie. Not that the effects were bad, but the plot was very predictable. As I have told some of my friends, the movie is so predictable such that I can predict the last 5 minutes of the movie from the events in the first 5 minutes. However this could be due to me being chinese, and having seen so many dramas or movies that you associate inner peace, the shifu’s taichi moves that you know that it would become a key part of the battle. Once the main evil villian is announced, and his weapon of choice being the cannonball, it is not difficult to put two and two together to realize that it should have something to do with rebounding the cannonball. This is what the ending of Return of the Condor Heroes did too.
There wasn’t much omph as compared to the first story in Kung Fu Panda I. In Kung Fu Panda I, the story revolved in finding the dragon warrior to having the sense of disbelief that the panda is a dragon warrior, to training him and finally fighting. In Kung Fu Panda II, I find that it is merely battles after battles that does not really help much to advance the storyline.
All of a sudden after the panda’s own tragic past is revealed, he attains inner peace. I find that terribly quick. There was no rage. The explanation was that the panda realized that his life was great to him after his tragedy, so he accepted his fate. That requires tremendous forgiving that seemed a little too quick. Considering how his shifu took decades to comprehend and find inner peace, it does feel a little bit rushed.
As of similar animated style movies, the duration of the entire experience was no more than 1 and a half hours, and that includes some advertisements. Personally with a story like that, I would think it wouldn’t be very worth it to watch in a cinema. However since I had a student price, I suppose I wouldn’t mind.