Kung Fu Panda 4 from a Christian Lens

As a parent who is always on the lookout for family entertainment that doesn’t just entertain but also imparts strong positive messages, I watch a lot of movies. How does Kung Fu Panda stack up? This latest installment in the beloved animated series delves deep into themes of spiritual leadership and redemption. It’s not just about the high kicks and humorous antics; there’s a substantial layer of moral themes that resonates with Christian values about courage, integrity, and the power of teamwork. While there is an emphasis on meaningful content, however, Kung Fu Panda 4 may not be a fitting choice for Christian families seeking films that align with their faith-based principles. This Christian Movie Review of Kung Fu Panda 4 answers your questions about content and the spiritual meanings in Kung Fu Panda 4. 

Movie Poster from Kung Fu Panda 4 opening March 8, 2024

Key Takeaways:

  • Christian review perspective: Emphasizes the movie’s alignment with Christian values while highlighting Eastern mysticism
  • Family entertainment: With a PG rating, Kung Fu Panda 4 may be a good choice for family entertainment. 
  • Positive messages: underscores the movie’s focus on spiritual leadership and the beauty of blended families. 


​Studio Synopsis

This spring, for the first time in almost a decade, comedy icon Jack Black returns to his role as Po, the world’s most unlikely kung fu master, with a hilarious, butt-kicking new chapter in DreamWorks Animation’s beloved action-comedy franchise: Kung Fu Panda 4.
After three death-defying adventures defeating world-class villains with his unmatched courage and mad martial arts skills, Po, the Dragon Warrior (Golden Globe nominee Jack Black), is called upon by destiny to … give it a rest already. More specifically, he’s tapped to become the Spiritual Leader of the Valley of Peace.
That poses a couple of obvious problems. First, Po knows as much about spiritual leadership as he does about the paleo diet, and second, he needs to quickly find and train a new Dragon Warrior before he can assume his new lofty position.
Even worse, there’s been a recent sighting of a wicked, powerful sorceress, Chameleon (Oscar® winner Viola Davis), a tiny lizard who can shapeshift into any creature, large or small. And Chameleon has her greedy, beady little eyes on Po’s Staff of Wisdom, which would give her the power to re-summon all the master villains whom Po has vanquished to the spirit realm.
So, Po’s going to need some help. He finds it (kinda?) in the form of crafty, quick-witted thief Zhen (Golden Globe winner Awkwafina), a corsac fox who really gets under Po’s fur but whose skills will prove invaluable. In their quest to protect the Valley of Peace from Chameleon’s reptilian claws, this comedic odd-couple duo will have to work together. In the process, Po will discover that heroes can be found in the most unexpected places.
Kung Fu Panda 4 is directed by Mike Mitchell (DreamWorks Animation’s Trolls, Shrek Forever After) and produced by Rebecca Huntley (DreamWorks Animation’s The Bad Guys). The film’s co-director is Stephanie Ma Stine (She-Ra and the Princesses of Power).

My Synopsis:

When Master Shifu (who is a red panda) tells Po that it is time to pass on the title of Dragon Warrior and become the spiritual leader, Po struggles with letting go. In the midst of trying to select his successor, Po learns of the Chameleon, an evil sorceress who is a shape-shifter and can take any form. Po teams up with a thieving fox named Zhen to help him track down the Chameleon on his last quest before passing of the torch. Will Po meet his match in the shape-shifting lizard?

The Chameleon grabbing the spirit of Tai Lung

Christian Movie Review of Kung Fu Panda 4 – What Parents Want to Know


While there is no “foul language,” there is the repeated use of the word butt. Additionally, the word idiot is used.


This film is filled with martial arts violence with the use of hands, arms, and weapons. Additionally, the fight sequences show plenty of destruction of property, and occasionally characters are shown injured, but there is no real bloodshed. This is a high-energy violence, and often over-the-top moves and fight scenes, such as when a lizard uses her tongue to tie up a character. There are also several chase scenes that contribute to the high energy of the film.

Furthermore, there are glowing eyes on characters and some cute little rabbits that turn rabid and attack. These cute bunnies go from adorable to evil in mere seconds. They bite and scream and chant the word “Violence” in several scenes.

Additionally, knives, axes, and other sharp objects are thrown at several characters throughout the film. 

Cute rabbit in Kung Fu Panda 4

Spiritual Content: 

First, the spiritual content is the area where I have the most problems. In fact, one character actually uses the word “summon” to call souls from the spirit realm. These souls are the evil characters that Po has previously defeated, and he has sent them to the netherworld. Using Po’s Staff of Wisdom, a portal to the spirit realm is opened (“Open the door to the spirit realm”), and the Chameleon grabs the “essence” of the character, and for lack of a better word, and inhales the essence. This is all with glowing “spiritual essence.” 

​The best word I can come up with for summoning spirituals and taking on their essence is “demonic.” Quite frankly, it is creepy and not something that I would want young children watching. The Chameleon is described as a shape-shifting sorceress. 

It is said that “Po has faced demons and demi-gods.” In one fight scene, an “urn of souls” is knocked over, and the souls are heard groaning. A character talks about “asking the universe for answers.”

While sitting under a tree looking for knowledge and wisdom, Po and Master Shifu are seen sitting in the lotus position (legs folded and hands held on knees with fingertips touching). Chanting occurs and a character talks about meditating.

Destiny is mentioned a few times. And Po makes up proverbs. Some are meaningless, but some have great meaning. 

However, if you have already seen this film, I urge you to impress upon your children the dangers of summoning spirits. Levitucus 19:31 states, “Do not turn to mediums or necromancers; do not seek them out, and so make yourselves unclean by them: I am the Lord your God.”

Other Content:

One scene takes place in a pub/bar. Po is looking for a boat captain, and he finds one. However, he is drinking in the bar. Later, the boat crashes into a pier.

Po farts. 

There are several scenes in an “underworld” filled with criminals. One character says, “a criminal can’t make an honest living.” One character has admitted to stealing to survive. Additionally, there is plenty of deception and lying throughout the film.

Family Dynamics: Blended Families

In Kung Fu Panda 4, the depiction of blended families with both of Po’s dads – his adopted dad and his biological father working together can serve as a visual of how adoption is a beautiful thing.

Positive Content:

This animated sequel not only delivers on action, but deeply resonates with some good values. When you look at Po’s journey toward spiritual leadership, the film masterfully weaves in themes of redemption, courage, and integrity, offering profound lessons for us all. 

Furthermore, the redemption arc in Kung Fu Panda 4 invites us to reflect on the power of forgiveness and the beauty of second chances — principles that lie at the heart of Christian faith. In fact, one of my favorite lines in this film is, “It’s never too late to do the right thing.”

Moreover, the movie’s depiction of teamwork emphasizes the strength found in unity, a message that encourages us to work together in love and respect. 

Finally, there is talk about change. “Change doesn’t always have to be a bad thing.” Everyone seems to hate change, but it is inevitable. People grow up, move on, and come and go in our lives. Children need help navigating and preparing for change.

​Christian Movie Review of Kung Fu Panda 4 – My Viewing Recommendation

Out of all the Kung Fu Panda movies, this latest installment is probably my least favorite. While some of the previous films were entertaining, only the first film captured my attention. Overall, this is a cute film, but with the added themes of opening spiritual realms and summoning spirits, I cannot recommend this film to Christian families. Finally, if you have already seen this film, make sure to talk with your children about the dangers of summoning spirits and dabbling in the spiritual realm. 

About Kung Fu Panda 4

Rating: PG for martial arts action, mild violence, scary images, and some mild rude humor

Release Date: March 8, 2024

Runtime: 1 hour, 34 minutes

Genre: Comedy

Style: Animated

Studio: DreamWorks Animation

Director: Mike Mitchell

Written by: Jonathan Aibel, Glenn Berger, Darren Lemke

Produced by: Rebecca Huntley

Edited by: Christopher Knights

Music by: Hans Zimmer, Steve Mazzaro

Distributed by: Universal Pictures

The Cast of Kung Fu Panda 4

Jack Black as Po

Awkwafina as Zhen

Viola Davis as The Chameleon

Dustin Hoffman as Master Shifu

James Hong as Mr Ping

Bryan Cranston as Li Shan

Ian McShane as Tai Lung

Key Huy Quan as Han

Lori Tan Chinn as Granny Boar

Ronny Chieng as Captain Fish

Seth Rogen as Mantis

Kung Fu Panda 4 Christian Movie Review

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