Adventure Animation

'Paddington 2' Film Review: An unBEARably cute and heartwarming adventure for the entire family

January 12, 2018Britany Murphy

It's not unusual for a sequel to not live up to the hype that surrounded its predecessor. However, the second go-round for the marmalade-loving bear Paddington does not disappoint, as Paddington embarks on a new adventure in which he has to overcome a bevy of obstacles that stem from him wanting to get his Aunt Lucy the best gift for her 100th birthday.

After meeting the Brown family (Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins, Madeleine Harris and Samuel Joslin) and Mrs. Bird (Julie Walters) in the first film, Paddington (voiced by Ben Whishaw) has now settled in quite comfortably into his new home of Windsor Gardens, where he is now a staple in his community. The movie opens with the kind bear getting ready for the morning, and when he leaves the house, he's greeted by many of his neighbors before heading an antique shop owned by Mr. Gruber (Jim Broadbent).

On a quest to find his Aunt Lucy (Imelda Staunton) the perfect present and repay her for all the kindness she's shown him, Paddington's eyes light up when he is shown a one-of-a-kind pop-up book of London, which he believes would be the ideal way to show Lucy the city she's always dreamed of visiting. Upon learning of the book's high price, however, the little bear asks Mr. Gruber to put the book on hold for him. Paddington then proceeds to take up a plethora of odd jobs — with hilarious results — including that of a window-washer, as well as a floor-sweeper at the local barber shop, all so he can save up the money to buy the treasured book.

But one night, on his way home, Paddington stumbles into a break-in at Mr. Gruber's shop. And as he tries to stop the thief from stealing the book, Paddington himself is mistaken for the guilty party. Arrested, trialed and sentenced to prison time, Paddington tries his best to adjust to life behind bars, oblivious to the fact that the Browns are working tirelessly to prove their beloved bear's innocence. Meanwhile, Paddington falls into the company of a gruff but softhearted fellow inmate named Knuckles (Brendan Gleeson), who also happens to be the prison cook, and together with a few other inmates they hatch a daring plan to break out and clear Paddington's name.

Directed by Paul King, written by King and Simon Farnaby, and, of course, based on author Michael Bond's series of children's books, Paddington 2 is a wonderful and whimsical sequel. And while it still maintains the elements from the first film that made it so lovable and endearing, it is very much a brand new adventure that also touts an outstanding cast of top-notch actors, including Hugh Grant, Peter Capaldi and Noah Taylor.

Brendan Gleeson as Knuckles is a genuine treat, and seeing the big, tough inmate bonding with a fuzzy, little bear over marmalade sandwiches is one of the most heartfelt moments in the movie, while recent Golden Globe nominee Sally Hawkins is clever as a whip as Mrs. Brown. Always having Paddington's best interests at heart, Mrs. Brown takes on the role of lead detective on the case to prove Paddington's innocence, and Hawkins makes sure the audience believes every detail of her inquisiting. However, it is Whishaw who truly steals the show. With only his voice at his disposal, Whishaw easily conveys all of the Paddington's emotions — happiness, fear, sadness, distress and humor. It's impossible to picture anyone else voicing the Peruvian bear; Whishaw is just that great.

All in all, Paddington 2 has a little something for everybody, from laughs, to lessons, to somber moments, making this sequel a great addition to the little bear's film franchise. Kids will delight in the imaginative visuals, while adults will appreciate the caliber of the acting; and considering how much these first two movies have knocked it out of the park, one can only hope that Paddington returns for a third time to make it a trilogy.

Paddington 2 releases January 12th, 2018 from Warner Bros. Pictures. The film has an MPAA rating of PG for some action and mild rude humor. Its runtime is 1 hr. 43 min.

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