Paddington 2 Review: Sweet, snuggly sequel!

A little bit of sunshine and sweetness goes a long way in making one’s day. And when the source of this warmth is a soft, furry bear, it also feels a lot more reliable.

Though their reality is undeniably fierce (remember The Revenant), fiction has frequently portrayed these pudgy mammals as purveyors of cuteness and comfort.

Spurious as the illusion may be, it certainly explains the enduring popularity of teddy bears in whose fleecy cuddles life seems so much more — well, bearable.

In Paul King’s sequel of British author Michael Bond’s beloved creation, the toggle-coat wearing immigrant from Peru continues his tradition of winning over London’s biggest grumps and bullies with delicious marmalade and unswerving civility.

Like the delightful Paddington, which acquainted us with the iconic bear’s tendency to get into harm’s way and inadvertently prompt a comedy of errors, Paddington 2 too takes great pride in reporting our dear sweet fella is still every bit the bungler.

Unravelling like pages of a warmly illustrated storybook, Paddington‘s swiftly evolving chapters balance its generous heart with nuance, whimsy and an unmistakably Wes Andersonesque symmetry.

While the kids are sure to learn a thing or two about good behaviour, it’s the spirit of community living and insecurities of immigrant life gently conveyed in scenes of Paddington‘s selfless involvement around his neighbourhood and need to prove his innocence outside it that make the film a lot more timely than expected from standard children’s fare.

Paddington may address the times we live in, but its fondness for the old fashioned is just as conspicuous in its steady imagery of steam engines and telephone boxes, cravats and carousels, decency and decorum.

It’s only fair an antique shop, owned by the ever-so-magnificent Jim Broadbent, should be at the centre of all its action.

Paddington’s (voiced by the wonderful Ben Whishaw) desire to gift Aunt Lucy an exclusive pop-up book about the landmarks of London on her birthday triggers more trouble than he’s accustomed to. It’s bloody well worth it though, the tour inside this intricate pop-up architecture is a moment of pure craft.

Following a series of hilarious attempts at odd jobs to save sufficient money, Paddington finds himself behind bars for stealing the said book.

Rather unfair since the real culprit, a pompous has-been actor and master of disguises (and accents) is roaming scot-free and busy uncovering the hidden clues inside it to accomplish a feat his grandfather couldn’t.

Hugh Grant’s BAFTA-nominated portrayal of this excessively grinning, peacocky, crafty villain is all kinds of droll and cartoonish. There’s an element of delirium to his deceit, just about enough to create intrigue.

Even as Paddington’s adopted family (the adorable duo of Sally Hawkins and Hugh Bonneville) snoop around to prove his innocence, the bear works the magic of marmalade onto his boorish inmates until the grouchiest of them (Brendan Gleeson infuses freshness to a fairly predictable gig) admits to a ‘strange warm tingling.’

Pretty accurate account of what you’ll feel at the end of this sweet, snuggly film.

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