Based on the bestselling stories by Michael Bond, Paddington 2 once again brings to life a wholesome, loveable bear in a perfect sequel that works with and improves on its predecessor in every way.
Paddington is now settled with his new family, and is a presence within his community helping out whoever he can, however he can. With Aunt Lucy’s 100th birthday coming up, Paddington looks for and finds the perfect gift; a pop-up book of London from Mr. Gruber’s antique shop. The book is expensive so in trademark Paddington fashion he finds several odd jobs to save up enough money to buy it.
This is where the movie excels by putting Paddington in new environments and having him figure it out, in a way only he can. He tries the barbershop to bombastic failure and window cleaning to surprising success.
However, the charming and wholesome personality of Paddington that really defines these the movie and his wholesome character comes down to this exchange:
Paddington: Hello, window cleaner.
Resident: No, thank you.
Paddington: Are you sure Colonel, they’re awfully dirty.
Resident: I don’t care and I’m not paying.
Paddington: Perhaps, I’ll do them anyway.
In an increasingly cynical and isolating world, it’s a breath of fresh air to see an outsider and an immigrant who puts his good-nature before anything else. I mean, he started window cleaning to save up for his Aunt Lucy’s birthday present, yet that doesn’t stop him being a great bear being.
Moreover, how flawlessly the CGI bear has been integrated into a live-action setting cannot be understated and neither can the perfect voice to match by Ben Wishaw. The earnestly soft charm of his voice completes our visual of the charismatic sentient bear.
Of course, Paddington finds himself in stickier and sticker situations each time. The slapstick yet loveable manner of Paddington means it is endlessly creative and fun to watch. With a mischievous crook on the loose, played wonderfully by Hugh Grant, who manages to frame Paddington for theft, we find the second half of the movie with Paddington trying to navigate the hard environment of prison.
Paddington hilariously goes where no other inmate has gone before with a little help from his marmalade sandwiches which he managed to sneak in with him under his hat? Anyway, he challenges the resident no-fun kitchen cook hard man ‘Knuckles’ that every other inmate is petrified of. Knuckles is really a softy at-heart and Paddington manages to accidentally win him over with his happy-go-lucky persona, but really his marmalade sandwich.
As the Browns struggle to figure out who the real thieving culprit is on the outside, Paddington plans a prison break with his new won-over prison pals. A family adventure is not complete without a wholesome ending and this movie has the best of them.
Paddington 2 joins the ever-exclusive club of sequels that are as good as or better than their predecessors. It’s a good job the closest thing to Paddington’s heart is marmalade and not marmite because this is not a case of you either like it or you don’t. You will love it. Paddington 2 is a sweet and joyful cinematic experience that deserves many more sequels.