Paddington 2 (2017)

Paddington 2 poster.jpg
Very Bearable

Director: Paul King
Running Time: 103 Minutes
Starring: Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins, Brendan Gleeson, Julie Walters, Jim Broadbent, Peter Capaldi, Hugh Grant, Ben Whishaw

In 2014, Paul King delivered Paddington to cinemas, a picture which defied expectations to be a soulless Alvin & The Chipmunks style cash grab, and delivered a genuine, warm heated take on a beloved childhood character. 3 years later, and King doubles down on everything that made the first instalment such a joy to watch, improving wherever possible, to deliver one of the most joyful and, dare I say it, perfect films of the year.

Now happily settled with the Brown family, Paddington (voiced by Ben Whishaw) is a beloved, and popular, member of the community. As it approaches his Aunt Lucy's 100th birthday, Paddington is desperate to raise money for the perfect present. But when the book is stolen, Paddington is wrongly accused of the crime, and sent to prison.

Image result for paddington 2 youtubeA film is no good if its protagonist is lacklustre, so thank goodness for the eponymous bear. He may unintentionally say and do a number of cheeky things, but there's no malice in Paddington's actions, or what he says. It's brought on by wide eyed naivety, and a sense of doing what's right, and the vocal talents of Ben Whishaw gets this across exceptionally well. He may not be one for violence, but he can stand his ground where necessary, and deliver a hard stare ones way. This combination gifts us with one of the most lovable protagonists in recent years, a bear that you can't help but absolutely adore.

Acting as support are the Browns, who are each given their own little arc, which results in them each contributing to the story in a larger way. As expected, each cast member is wonderful, with Sally Hawkins and Hugh Bonneville especially standing out as wonderful elements in the film. There are two standout additions to the cast this time, starting with Brendan Gleeson playing Knuckles McGinty. A prisoner who works in the kitchen, despite his food not exactly being up to snuff, Gleeson marvellously portrays the characters gruff nature, while allowing to show a heart beneath the tough exterior.

Then there's Hugh Grant, who threatens to steal the film with his glorious performance. He portrays Phoenix Buchanan, a failed actor whose career has resulted in him taking dog food commercials. While Nicole Kidman's antagonist resulted in tonal shifts, and felt unnecessarily tacked onto the first film, Phoenix is intertwined with the narrative, and an integral part of the plot.

We're not just told how Paddington affects the lives of everyone around him, Paul King takes the time to detail how he affects each one of them. How his small offerings of kindness has changed everybody's lives, and in the spirit of It's A Wonderful Life, gives a wonderful message about never understating the importance of a kind deed. How even the smallest moments of kindness to one another do larger wonders than you initially realise.

An impressive sequel that improves upon its predecessor, Paddington 2 is a warm bear hug of a film that'll leave you feeling better about the world. A film that'll make you laugh, cry, and feel for its characters, it's an understatement to call this something special. Be sure not to leave right away, the credits contain wonderful gems worth viewing.