Sequels are rarely as good as the originals, but that is not true in this case. This particular family friendly film has everything one could want in such a film. The characters are all vivid and the central ones are likable. The villain, Phoenix Buchanan, is played brilliantly by Hugh Grant, an actor playing an actor who is down on his luck and in his bank account as well. Hugh Bonneville of Downton Abbey fame reprises his role as Mr. Brown, and for good measure an alumnus from Hogwarts is thrown in— Jim Broadbent as Mr. Gruber who runs an antique shop worthy of those Harry Potter films. Children will not have time to get bored in this film as it is only 105 minutes long, and full of funny scenes, spoofs, action shots, and of course lots of marmalade and sweets thrown in for good measure.
The plot of course stretches credulity past the breaking point, but then, this is a fictional bear story after all, so we should be able to bear most anything at all in good fun. In essence, Paddington is trying to earn some money to buy his Aunt Lucy (back in the homeland wherever that may be) a nice present for her birthday. He wishes to buy her a classic pop up book about London, since she has never been, but encouraged Paddington to go there. Long story short, he ends up in jail accused of stealing the book, and then the fun and mayhem really begins when he befriends various hardened criminals. I’ll not spoil the fun or the ending, but I will say that if this movie doesn’t produce some smiles, laughs, or at least wee giggles, and perhaps a tear or two then it is being watch by a person with a heart of stone who hates marmalade. A good time can be had by all, or as Paddington says ‘if you are polite and kind, everything turns out fine’. It takes a bear, apparently, to reveal tp us the bare facts as to why the British are so terribly polite and often kind as well.