Stop everything you are doing and go see Paddington 2 right now.
Paddington 2 is a complete and utter joy to watch. While some may belittle it’s “for children” approach, it is able to accomplish something very few films can. It is completely free of cynicism and the negativity that has infected today's day and age. While those emotions can be powerful, Paddington realizes that its strength, like its main character, lies in its kindness and wholesomeness that could easily be overwhelming but this film manages to never feel cloying and suffocating. In many ways, the tone and soul of this film is a balancing act that is perfectly executed by director/writer Paul King who uses all the tools that Paddington the character, concept, and at this point, film franchise provides to make the best movie possible. As a film it uses the blueprint set by the original and just builds upon it in every way, we as the audience see Paddington get moved out of his comfort zone and try and to remain positive in a world of negativity. That’s what works so brilliantly about this movie, Paul King so effectively cuts to the core of what makes Paddington so endearing as a character and uses it to his full advantage. Whether it is Paddington charming the entire neighborhood or winning over the incredibly nasty cook (played so perfectly by Brendan Gleeson) during his stint in prison this movie shows you that kindness and warmth will get you farther in life than anything else. While sweetness will get you far it won’t take you all the way home and that’s where the wit of the film easily takes this film over the line from good to great. A lot of the wit lies in not only the writing but the performances and that could not more evident than in Hugh Grant’s incredibly over-the-top villain steals the entire movie from everyone else, including Paddington. He’s just complete energy and helps the film from ever feeling stale or safe while still in keeping with the tone and spirit of the film. Paddington 2 succeeds in the same way Paddington does in the film, by bringing kindness and good-natured fun to the cinemas and letting it completely infect the viewer until you can’t help but smile; it was the film I needed to see in these dark times that we call today and turned out to be an incredibly uplifting respite that made me want to come back for more. (Hugh Grant is coming for the Oscar next year :) )
Al Pacino Rating: