Paddington 2 is set a few years after the first film and shows how much Paddington has made himself at home, he’s friends with almost everyone, he has a daily routine, and he is treated like any other person. However when he finds a book he wishes to buy for his aunt’s 100th birthday, Paddington decides to get a job. Hijinks ensue.
Up until Paddington gets a job, Paddington 2 is just as funny and warm as its predecessor, however once Paddington starts to get a job, which he goes through a few. From that point until the end, the earnest warmth is definitely toned down for a more physical comedy tone throughout. The physical comedy was the weakest part of the original film and the same faults in the original are amplified in this sequel. Scenes go on too long, not knowing when to end a joke at the right time and instead dragging it out to where the amusement becomes slight frustration.
A huge part of the original film were the scenes between Paddington and the Browns, which unfortunately there’s very little of in this film and it seems like once you take Paddington away from the Browns, you take the warmth and joy from the film. This doesn’t mean the film is awful, there are still some very funny scenes, and Ben Whishaw is as charming as ever as the naïve Paddington and still brings some much needed happiness to the film.
The performances, as ever, are fantastic with a special mention going to Hugh Grant as the hilariously poncy stage actor come thief, Phoenix Buchanan, whom definitely rivals Nicole Kidman’s character in the first film. The fun Grant is having in being so hammy and evil shows throughout the film and it definitely adds to the enjoyment of him getting his comeuppance.
The CGI is even better, in the previous film there were some scenes with Paddington that were very poorly animated, presumably because of the budget. However in this film there wasn’t a single moment that was poorly animated and Paddington blended into the world even further.
The lack of the Browns was definitely felt as they’re the warmth that radiates through the film along with Paddington. While other characters introduced are fun and have some interesting quirks, they lack warmth and joy. This I feel is down to sequelitis; The need for the sequel film to be grander in every way. It very often doesn’t work out and leaves the audience craving the smaller, simpler stories. This is definitely the case with Paddington, a big reason it is so well regarded is because of the magic on screen when Paddington and the Browns are together. When they’re divided, and especially with a weak story, it isn’t as fun.
Paddington 2 is shot beautifully, great wide shots mixed with the bold colour palette really sets it apart from other family films and at times is breathtaking. The idea of having the prisoners have pink uniforms to add colour to what could have been a dreary shot was great, and felt natural. A lot of the prison scenes felt like an homage to ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’ in that they were quirky and atypical, filled with interesting but silly characters.
Paddington 2 is still a fun family film but is missing a ton of warmth, where it tries to be bigger and better, it just has a basic story and pales in comparison to the original.