“Paddington 2” is directed by Paul King and stars Ben Winshaw, Hugh Grant, Sally Hawkins, and Hugh Bonneville. The film is about the young bear of Paddington, now well-adapted with his new family, attempting to get enough money to buy his Aunt Lucy a birthday gift, but this gets Paddington into trouble that threatens to ruin his perfect life.
The first “Paddington” film was full of life and joy, and the film completely worked, which was something I truly did not expect from a January-released kid’s movie. So, I came into the film very excited to see what else King could give this lovable bear that the original already didn’t accomplish.
I’ll just get right into it, “Paddington 2” has no business being as good as it is, and yet it is truly one of the best sequels to a children’s movie I have ever seen. Paul King has found a way to master the art of cute bear films, as his only two major films are in the “Paddington” name, and man is he great at it. There is so much love and enjoyment to be had with these characters, and King makes the humor and the themes something that both children and adults can really latch on to and appreciate.
Ben Winshaw is a delight to watch in the titular role, both because of his wonderful vocal delivery and the stunning animation done with the character of Paddington. Winshaw brings out the happiness, the optimism, and the pure excitement from this bear, but the visual effects really help to add a cuteness and an extra layer of emotion to the words being spoken. Paddington is so much fun, no matter what he is going through within the story, and it is hard not to have a smile on your face from start to finish.
King’s ability to create every type of emotion in a movie about a tiny bear living with a human family is nothing short of remarkable, and the fact that he is able not only to implement it, but make it work beyond most dramas, is what makes “Paddington 2” so special. There are moments of tension, suspense, and loads of times for comedy, but the heart and the soul felt, once again, for a tiny bear, had me floored, and it also had me completely wrapped up in this often-silly story.
Aside from Winshaw, the supporting performances from the rest of the cast are excellent, especially Hugh Grant. Grant is incredible in his villainous role, being equally funny and crazy enough to stick with the tone of the movie. Sally Hawkins continues to only be in fantastic movies, and Hugh Bonneville once again is great as the disgruntled, cranky father. More surprisingly welcome additions include Brendan Gleeson, who is absolutely amazing as Knuckles and Tom Davis as T-Bone, as they both are hysterical and way better than I expected their characters to be.
Not only does King hit the feels and the sympathetic aspects of this fuzzy friend, he really hits home on the comedy, in a big way. The comedy, while often leaning towards younger ages for obvious reasons, nearly every effort to make me laugh did so, and that has a lot to do with the upbeat and incredibly exciting tone that is created from the first few scenes. There is simply so much to love with how sweet and entertaining a film like “Paddington 2” is, and it is just smart enough and well-made enough to overcome the typical shortcomings of many movies like it from the past.
Still, it is a kid’s movie at heart, and because of that, the storyline sometimes falters to be more child-friendly. The conflicts and the answers to these conflicts do feel a bit far-fetched, even for a movie about a talking bear, and, though these moments do add up, it’s hard to ever get all that mad when so much is working well with the characters and the writing. Along with this, consequences never feel all that justified or correct, but, again, it’s a kid’s movie, and the themes come through perfectly fine even when the film feels too far out there to grasp.
“Paddington 2” is the ball of light needed in anyone’s life. This is a film that is made for everyone to love, and it does so without settling completely on targeting a younger audience. I loved the comedic timing and delivery of the characters, I loved the amount of heart put into the character of Paddington, and I love the directorial style of Paul King, which had a Wes Anderson meets Brad Bird feel to it. Sure, conflicts and a few scenes within the plot are handled in an elementary fashion, but for a film that could be so generic and that could easily shoot for a young audience, “Paddington 2” shines as a sequel that improves on an already great predecessor, and one that is an absolute blast to watch. Most years start on a negative note, with most films releasing in January being intentionally placed there to be forgotten, but with “Paddington 2,” I fully expect to remember this wonderful film at the end of 2018.
What did you think of “Paddington 2”? Comment below with your thoughts.