In such dire socio-political times, sometimes a movie about an adorable bear preaching kindness is all you need. Paddington 2 however, is so much more.
Paddington 2 is the sequel to the successful 2014 adaptation of Michael Bond’s children’s book. The sequel continues to follow Paddington bear (Ben Wishaw) as he gets into trouble and adventures. The main plot in this sequel involves Paddington wanting to buy a pop-up book for his aunt Lucy (Imelda Staunton). However, the book is stolen an arrogant and down-in-the-dumps actor (Hugh Grant), and Paddington is framed for the crime and shipped off to prison. Paddington’s Brown family (Hugh Bonneville and Sally Hawkins play the parents), must try to clear his name, while the bear improvises life in prison.
The film is one of the most adorable and feel-good things you will experience; the warmness of each of the characters is enough to brighten your week. But the film is also able to up its ante cinematically, for one Grant is a much better villain that Nicole Kidman was in the first film. A better villain gives the story more gravitas and pushes Paddington and his family’s characters into development, not to mention that Grant has an absolute blast playing an exaggerated version of his own Hollywood persona. The story itself is extremely well written, with a very structured story that checks a lot of screenwriting boxes, but also brings an organic and emotional aura to the film.
Paddington 2 is aesthetically witty as well, just like its predecessor; there are many Wes Anderson-inspired set pieces, the transitions and camera-work makes it feel like you’re turning the pages of a pop-up book yourself. The overall experience puts you in the innocent perspective of a child, where all the world’s problems can be remedied with will and benevolence. It’s also extremely refreshing that the film isn’t political; its job is simply to be fun and leave you complete.
Paddington 2 is a great sequel, the message parlayed in the film is one we all desperately need; the film lights a fire of hope and optimism in which conflicts can be resolved by being nice and eating marmalade sandwiches.