When Paddington came out in 2014 no one ever thought that the legendary marmalade-loving bear could break into the current generation of children. We saw the pedigree of actors but none of us were prepared for such a monumental success, Paddington was a wonderful film filled with charming characters that centred around an even more loveable bear voiced by Ben Wishaw. Now with the success of Paddington’s first outing on the big screen it was almost certain there would be a sequel so here we are in Paddington 2 with the whole cast of the original returning with several newcomers most notably Hugh Grant and Brendan Gleeson.
Paddington 2 opens up with Paddington now fully acclimated into the neighbourhood, he is the quintessential bear about town, everyone loves him (save for Peter Capaldi’s curmudgeon Mr. Curry) and he’s planning for his Aunt Lucy’s (Imelda Staunton) Birthday. One day he meets with Mr. Gruber (Jim Broadbent) at Mr. Gruber’s shop to find the perfect gift his Aunt on her Birthday and they happen across a stunning pop-up book that illustrates several notable locations in London. When Paddington learns that the book is £1000 pounds he sets off on the greatest adventure of all, getting a job so he can thank the woman that gave up her biggest dream of travelling to London to raise him. It’s a heartwarming tale with a lot of twists and turns that I won’t spoil for you here.
Director Paul King has crafted a loving second adventure for children in Paddington 2, the world feels lovingly transplanted from the tomes of Paddington creator Michael Bond to the big screen. The characters from the villainous Phoenix Buchanan (a wonderfully over the top Hugh Grant) to the tough as nails prison chef Nuckel’s (a charmingly brutish Brendan Gleeson) are gleefully lovable. Hugh Grant, in particular, enters the film as this villainous yet absurdly hilarious force of nature stealing scenes left and right. Ben Wishaw is once again on top form as Paddington giving some of the best emotional moments in the film as he tries to ensure that is Aunt gets the perfect Birthday gift and I won’t lie I was tearing up several times during the course of this film.
On top of the perfect acting and the enjoyable characters, Paddington 2 is a gorgeous film to watch, it’s filled with some of the most impressive cinematography and animation I have seen in recent years. There are several scenes where King utilises a form of animation to tell events of note in the film and they are fantastic to watch as the quality is top notch. The best part of Paddington 2 though is the humour it’s so much fun and will bring audiences back to their childhood where everything was so simple and enjoyable and just full of joy.
I can’t say any more about Paddington 2 as I’d be repeating myself, there is almost nothing wrong with this film, at times the story does begin to reach levels of utter absurdity but King and his cast reign it all back in to keep with the legitimacy and quality they’ve earned.
Paddington 2 is an absolute gem of a film, one of those rare examples of a perfect sequel. It builds on everything that made the first Paddington so unapologetically charming and expands further on every aspect of the first film. Bring not just your family to this, bring everyone you know to see Paddington 2.