‘Paddington 2’ Review Roundup: Live-Action Sequel Delights Critics
Paddington 2 is the live-action sequel about the beloved British Paddington Bear. This time around, Paddington, voiced by Ben Whishaw, is happily settled with his family, the Browns, in Windsor Gardens and has become an esteemed member of their community. He spots a pop-up book perfect for his Aunt Lucy’s birthday and sets out to buy it, but once he has enough money, he discovers that a thief has stolen the book. He is then mistaken for the burglar and sent to jail, and the Browns are left to prove his innocence.
Paddington 2 is certified fresh on Rottentomatoes with 100% approval rating. It’s average rating, however, is an 86%. Hugh Grant, Brendan Gleeson, Sally Hawkins, an Julie Walters co-star. Twice-BAFTA-nominated Pail King directs, and the story is based on the internationally adored children’s stories by Michael Bond.
PADDINGTON 2 REVIEW ROUNDUP
“The sequel to the 2014 picture turns out to be every bit as deft, witty and, yes, moving as the first one. It’s a little over-packed, narratively. But the further adventures of the dear Peruvian bear, adopted by the Brown family of London, express an unusually generous worldview. Ben Whishaw’s vocal characterization as Paddington plays everything for simplicity and easygoing optimism. Even with a fair amount of calamity and adversity in the story, the slapstick setbacks are treated with a light touch. You don’t feel beaten up by the filmmakers’ attempts to engage a variety of audience quadrants; Paddington 2 is a lover, not a fighter… [Paddington 2] throws a lot at our plaintive hero, and a lot at the audience. The verbal jokes (every newspaper headline we see contains a clever bit) fold easily into the visual felicities. The mixture of live action and computer-generated imagery feels natural. These movies simply know what they’re doing. They retain the spirit and the humane reassurance of the source material. Come late 2018, I suspect this is one sequel that will hold up particularly well in the rearview mirror.”
–Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune
“Whether Paddington is doing kind deeds for his neighbors or winning over the prison’s cantankerous cook, Knuckles McGinty (Gleeson), he moves through London spreading generosity, joy, and acceptance — a message that’s never preachy but feels particularly powerful in the wake of Brexit. The clever slapstick sequences and chase scenes will entertain children and adults alike, and the entire film sparkles with a Wes Anderson-ish whimsy and a kind heart that’ll leave you feeling warm and fuzzy. Just like the film’s protagonist.”
–Devan Coggan, Entertainment Weekly
“This is consistently good character-humor plus solid slapstick plus little dabs of drama to let your lungs recover from laughing, an accessible and engaging family romp… One advisory. If you haven’t seen Paddington in its 2015 theatrical release or recent life online (it’s currently a featured title on Netflix), you’re not ready for the second chapter. For newcomers, this cascade of self-referential in-jokes and callbacks to colorful side characters will wander the land of the lost. Getting ready for the new film will be one of the most charming study assignments of your life.”
–Colin Covert, Star Tribune
“Is it too lame to get wrapped up in the messages in a kid’s film? Paddington 2 has a lot of worthy ones — the importance of kindness, family, and, heck, even saving money to get a thoughtful gift for someone who means something to you. It is a cheerful, sweet movie, where there is no problem that a lovingly made marmalade sandwich won’t fix, and it’ll be sure to leave kids and adults smiling and even wiping a few tears away at the end.”
–Lindsey Bahr, AP
“Could it be that Hugh Grant was born to play a villainous dandy in a kid’s movie? He certainly seems to be having the time of his life hamming it up in Paddington 2 as a pretentious, has-been actor who’s now relegated to dressing up like a spaniel for dog food commercials. His delight is contagious… Paddington 2 leans a little heavily on its simplistic message: There’s good in everyone. Still, that’s worth remembering during these divisive times. Maybe all it needs is a lovable bear to drive the point home.”
–Stephanie Merry, The Washington Post