Monday, June 25, 2018

Paddington 2

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion (or other commenters), that's fine. To each their own. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 0-5. 0, of course, being unwatchable. 1, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching! These movies make me believe that there is still good in the least until I look at the news and see what our president is doing.

Paddington 2 – 5 out of 5

I had my reservations about the first Paddington movie.  I thought it was just going to be a throwaway family film filled with cheap and easy gags.  However, I was completely taken by surprised when I found an utterly charming feature that was heartwarming and laugh out loud funny.  Due to this, I was kinda excited to check out Paddington 2.  Does it deliver in the same way?  You bet your marmalade sandwich it does!

Paddington is a rarity with bears.  My attempt at having a marmalade sandwich
with a cub in the woods ended with me being mauled like I was
Leo in The Revenant.

Paddington (voiced by Ben Whishaw) is on a mission to find the perfect gift for his Aunt Lucy’s 100th birthday.  He ultimately finds it in the form of a pop-up book of London.  However, the book holds a secret that can lead to a fortune in treasure and it is stolen by a dastardly actor named Phoenix Buchanan (Hugh Grant) from the antique shop it was residing in.  Unfortunately, Paddington takes the blame and is sent to prison.  Now his family, The Browns; Henry (Hugh Bonneville), Mary (Sally Hawkins), Judy (Madeleine Harris), Jonathon (Samuel Joslin), and Mrs. Bird (Julie Walters), must work to prove his innocence.  Meanwhile, Paddington makes an unlikely friend in the prison, a hardened criminal by the name of Knuckles McGinty (Brenden Gleeson) and he just may be the man to help get that bear out of the pen.

Gleeson is an amazing actor but can we take a minute to admire how
meticulously trimmed his beard is?

This sequel follows the same formula as the first film in the fact that it is wholesome and funny without ever feeling sappy.  The tone of the story and movie is able to be one that warms the heart, easily makes one smile and will make one chuckle as much as it will bring a tear to one’s eye.  Add in the fact that this story was easily engaging and the new additions to the cast were terrific and it created a movie that ended up being more delightful and entertaining than the first one.  The first one is still great but this one ended up just beating it by a smidge.

One of my favorite Doctors.

Yeah, Grant is the bad guy but that suit is
anything but bad.
One of the film’s strongest suits is the new additions to the cast.  The returning players like Ben Whishaw as Paddington, Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins, Peter Capaldi and more are still doing a tremendous job with their characters but the inclusion of Hugh Grant and Brenden Gleeson definitely kicked the feature up to another level.  Gleeson is already a powerhouse performer and he gets that perfect blend of being funny, charming and a bit of a tough guy as the convict that ends up bonding with the bear over marmalade.  Finally, Hugh Grant was just an absolute joy to watch as the endlessly amusing villain Phoenix Buchanan (which, by the way, is a great name for an actor).  The way the story emphasized his skills as an actor in order to be the antagonist and the over dramatized way that Grant played the character melded perfectly to create something that really commanded attention and made for a very enjoyable roadblock for Paddington to overcome.

Also, he dresses as a nun at one point and that cracked me up!

Finally, I really enjoyed the simplicity of the story.  Paddington is built on simplicity and the movies capture that.  All the bear wants to do is find a gift for his Aunty and it ends up putting him in jail.  The writing does a great job of having this whimsy without feeling too whimsical and it builds the adventure perfectly so that as things get more and more over-the-top, it never feels like it gets too wild or too unbelievable.  Everything about its structure, pacing and narrative fit into this perfect hole that it was made for and it delivers something magical and endlessly entertaining.

I won't even bother denying that I'm crying looking at this picture of Paddington
and his Aunty hugging.

Paddington 2 never falters or dips at all throughout its presentation.  The story is adorable and easily engaging, the characters are fun and played perfectly by the cast and the movie astoundingly balances its heart and humor and never allows itself to get too sappy.  The film is just a cute and overtly optimistic tale that wears its heart on its sleeve and has a mission to make you smile.  A mission, I might add, that it was very successful with.

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