Film Review: Paddington 2

Paddington Bear was my childhood. When I was a kid, I used to listen to Michael Bond’s stories all the time, so it was very lucky that my mum used to find them as funny as I did. The hilarious scrapes, the unrealistic events (well, what else would you expect when the protagonist is a talking animal from Darkest Peru), and the permanent exasperation the bear induces in the Brown family all aligned to make Paddington one of my favorite characters of all time. To be honest, I feel like I took on far too many of his traits as a result: love of food? Check. A magnet for disaster? Check. Seeing the solution to making said disasters worse as regarding the chaos and saying ‘oh dear’? Check.

So when Paddington 2 came out, I was excited – and a little wary. I had loved the books so much, and the first film had been so good, that I wasn’t sure whether the sequel was going to match them in my esteem. There was a very real risk that it might go the way of so many popular franchises: a movie made to make money, regardless of how bad the plot might be. I have never been happier to be proved wrong. I don’t think anyone in the movie theater, including myself and my friends, stopped laughing for the whole time duration of the movie. 

Like the first film, Paddington 2 stayed true to its source material. As Paddington became embroiled in more and more hair-raising escapades, the level of unrealism – and Hugh Grant’s madness – just got higher and higher. And that was how it should have been. Paddington wouldn’t be Paddington without it, just like it wouldn’t be Paddington if he wasn’t in a situation stickier than his marmalade sandwiches, if Mr Brown wasn’t one step away from a Basil Fawlty-esque meltdown, or if Mr Curry wasn’t somewhere in the background shouting angrily about ‘that bear’.

It’s all these qualities that make the story of Paddington so timeless, and so popular with people of all ages. In our movie theater, there were young families, students, and older couples all crowded into the same space, and all laughing at the same jokes. And, back at home, my mum and dad were booking their own tickets to see the character that we had loved so much as a family. Like the original stories, Paddington 2 brought everyone together in a hilarious and heart-warming patchwork of good intentions gone wrong, and the power of a family working together. The only thing it failed at was convincing me that marmalade is as tasty as Paddington thinks it is.