“Paddington 2” stars Ben Whishaw, Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins, Brendan Gleeson, Julie Walters, Jim Broadbent, Peter Capaldi, and Hugh Grant. Released in the United Kingdom on November 10, 2017, followed by a United States release on January 12, 2018, the film has Paddington attempting to buy a unique book for his aunt’s birthday.
The film is directed by Paul King, who also directed Bunny and the Bull, and it is a sequel to the 2014 family film, Paddington, which is also directed by King. Since the film premiered in theaters last year before the U.S., this will count as a 2017 release. Paddington was considered as one of the most delightful and well-executed family films to ever hit the big screen. I was one of the many people who found the movie to be a pleasant and generous introduction to a new generation of Paddington fans. To me, it’s one of those types of live-action/CGI family films that rely on charm, heart, and storytelling over the absurd amount of gross-out humor and pop culture references that’ll make every adult act like an uncivilized jerk. So now we have the latest chapter in the marmalade-loving bear’s series of theatrical adventures that’s already been getting a lot of unanimous praise. I should know because the film still has that 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes as of this writing. Can it really be as great as the original? If not, better?
Like its predecessor, the film contains a simplistic and charming story that involves Paddington (Whishaw) and the Brown family on another misadventure in London. Paddington’s attempt to buy a rare pop-up book for his aunt leads him behind bars when he is framed for a crime he didn’t commit. So it’s up to the Brown family to find the real culprit and clear his name. When it comes to sequels, it’s usually hard to come up with a good story while maintaining the same qualities that made the originals so special, which was one of my main concerns going into this film. Luckily, Paul King was able to break that unfortunate pattern by delivering a rare family sequel that’s as charming and irresistible as the original. The main cast reprised their roles from the first film, including Bonneville and Hawkins as Henry Brown and Mary Brown, respectively. They once again delivered some very suitable and entertaining performances, with the main highlight being Ben Whishaw as the voice of the title character. I honestly couldn’t imagine someone else voicing this character. Whishaw was absolutely perfect in bringing this friendly and innocent bear to life. Brendan Gleeson was also pretty entertaining as one of the prisoners that Paddington befriends. A nice change of pace compared to his other roles. While the story can be a bit predictable during a couple of scenes, it has a way of blending in imaginative kid-friendly fare with a screenplay that’s more suitable and harmless for the adults. The film also contains some heartwarming messages that fit pretty well with its storytelling. As for the film’s humor, they did a marvelous job at providing some laughable gags without going too far-fetched. The music and the visuals were both stunning in their own way. The former, composed by Dario Marianelli, for providing an innocent and fun tone, and the latter for some of the imaginative sequences and the design of Paddington.
Overall, like its predecessor, “Paddington 2” is as sweet as a jar of marmalade. With its charming cast, Whishaw’s portrayal of the title character, and a story that’s suitable and well-written for all ages, this is another rare sequel that surprisingly works. If you’re a fan of the first film, I believe that you’re going to love this one as well. I would also recommend it to those who are familiar with Paddington Bear as well as those who aren’t. Your turn, Peter Rabbit.