HOLLYWOOD—I think I have seen every “Kung Fu Panda” film at least two times each. That is what happens when you have nieces or nephews. So, I was not surprised that a fourth installment in the franchise was being released to theaters, but I think this might be the weakest in terms of entertainment value for the adults. That could be because a lot the characters the adults sat in the theaters watching from the previous flicks are not large focal points to this movie.

I’m referring to the Furious Five. Those characters were integral to previous films and they’re not integral to this movie. This is Po’s (voice of Jack Black) journey and it almost felt like a passing of the torch as the character is being written as if he’s going into retirement. Black is still solid in terms of the charisma he voices to our protagonist who is being forced to grow up and age a bit this time around. There are a lot of new characters this time around who circle themselves around Po, most notably Zhen (voice of Awkwafina), a corsac fox, who has a knack for thievery.

At the beginning I was willing to argue that Po is the heart of the flick, but as we enter the second and third act it becomes clear that Zhen takes over that element for the audience and she really tugs at your heart and we get that hint that the character is likely to become a focal point for subsequent entries into the franchise. The story follows Po who is forced to choose a new Dragon Warrior as he is aimed to become a spiritual leader. We get a very brief scene with Master Shifu (voice of Dustin Hoffman) as he breaks that news to Po, who is not ready to step down.

There are tryouts from a slew of animals with all unique skills, but none of them impress Po. This is where the audience has our introduction to Zhen who is caught trying to steal weapons and begins to develop a friendship with Po. That friendship is short-lived when the duo discovers that the Chameleon (voice of Viola Davis) has been aiming to access the Spirit Realm to steal the powers of ancient leaders. Davis is ok in the role, but as a fan of Davis’ work I couldn’t tell it was her. There were moments in the film where her voice would resonate and I would catch myself saying, “Oh, that’s Davis.” And other times it could have been a random voice actor.

The Chameleon is a formidable foe, but her threat level is not really amplified until the end of the second act going into the third act of the movie. The animated feature does have some stalled moments, where it takes a bit of time for the narrative to gain its footing, but once it puts its foot on the gas it is a fun ride. The action starts to rev up, the character development revs up and the big climax is a fun time for adults and children.

The jokes are not that bold though, I think I may have laughed maybe once or twice watching this entry, where previous flicks I laughed a lot more. It is apparent after four flicks the comedy is not as potent as the first, second or third go around. However, considering “Kung Fu Panda 4” is a flick aimed to entertain children it does a solid job. You will not be jumping out the theater seat as an adult, but the kids enjoyed it, so I did as well.