Not as good as lots of people are making out, I thought a little dull and predictable once it got stated. It's ok, but not the best film of the year, this is far big an accolade to place on this film. I will say that I thought Hugh Grant was the best thing in the film. My kids got bored and not finished watching it yet and they are 7 and 4 years of age so this does not bode well for this.
From the outset, this second Paddington outing from Paul King had to resemble its predecessor in offering something for those who read Michael Bond's books as they were coming out - or soon after, and that means from the late 1950s onwards; as well as for kids who might well believe the beloved character is confined to screens large and small. One immediately visible, mystical and quite fantastic way in which this is achieved is through sets and scenes that are surprisingly timeless. While Mr Brown (again played by Hugh Bonneville) works in an office in The Shard (completed 2012), Paddington's more regular haunts in Notting Hill (well, where else could it be really?) and the Portobello Road regularly give the impression of being "some years ago", and in this way play surprisingly faithful homage to Peggy Fortnum's illustrations in the books, which are somewhat impressionistic, but definitely "from back then". This is artistic stuff of a high order, and - as always in the past - London is magically capable of achieving this mix of eras, just as it mixes everything else you can think of; and the film makes no secret of its adoration for the great capital city. In line with that, the piece is avowedly pro-immigration, doing everything in its power to convince us that London-ness and Britishness are strong enough to encompass and welcome and gently tweak habits from every other conceivable country and culture without its own magic being diluted or lost in the process. It's a quite persuasive and beautiful case, even if the most powerful scene here (for adults at least) is a "pop-up book come to life" that wondrously and movingly takes us back to an earlier, still obviously cosmopolitan but slightly less multi-culti version of the city. The effect is quite spellbinding.Obviously, Paddington's capacity to get into scrapes that are nothing too serious, but nevertheless convey a hint of menace (often helped along by "Mr Curry" - as here played by Peter Capaldi) and chaos and momentary "lost-ness" are drawn out from the original books in a fine way here, and are mostly funny; though there is perhaps slightly less to laugh at here (in an unforced way) than in "Paddington 1".The barber's shop scene nevertheless stands out for its joyous inventiveness, as does Paddington busy cleaning windows...A more serious (potential) problem for adult viewers will be the tendency for certain actors here to move in the direction of cliche. This is doubtless a necessary step to keep younger viewers on board, but while some see the Hugh Grant villain role here as "the actor sending himself up"; for me this hardly works. Brendan Gleeson as a prisoner (dressed a la 1930s???) also seems like pastiche, as does Tom Conti as a senior judge. For me at least more joy is to be had with Jim Broadbent reprising his role as Mr Gruber - whose memories presumably (now magically-incongrously) extend back to Wartime Central Europe, and allow the actor to give a wonderful performance in which tragedy is somehow tangible beneath a warm and kindly surface - this is clever stuff indeed given how few lines the actor actually gets. Julie Walters as Mrs Bird says even less - and sadly represents a wasted opportunity, while Sally Hawkins is likewise underused (though sometimes fun) as Mrs Brown. Punching above his weight, in contrast, is Sanjeev Bhaskar in his classy and in fact meaningful role as Dr Jafri.No film for all the family is going to succeed without making some compromises, but there is not doubt at all that "Paddington 2" does what it takes to woo adults with both its contemporary style and ability to provoke nostalgia. However, this owes more to the animated star of the show, and to magnificent scene-setting, than it does to acting ... or in fact storytelling.But that's alright!
First, it's a bland formula storyline. Lost treasure to be found in old book found in, of course, an antique store.
Second, blandly bad were the characterizations especially Hugh Grant putting in a weak effort to semi play himself as a self-centered washed up actor which judging from his acting here isn't that far off.
Third, lots of stereotyped characters in stereotyped roles e.g. prisoners as Paddington foils.
Fourth, the worst part was the unimaginative unwillingness to spend time & money to upgrade the CGI animation quality i.e. compared to, let's say, Peter Rabbit.
Fifth, also unlike PR, the song & dance, a mainstay of such animations, was a weak half-hearted effort.
Overall, not original at all.
Small Peruvian floppy-hatted bear Paddington, now comfortably and lovingly ensconced with the Brown family, is looking to send a book to his Aunt Lucy. Unfortunately it contains clues to a treasure and Paddington ends up in prison, framed for a crime he didn't commit, while the real criminal is on the treasure trail. Can the Browns (and Paddington's fellow prisoners) obtain justice for the loveable little fellow?Well, no prizes for guessing the answer, but the journey to get to it is sheer delight from start to finish. The story, if improbable, is beautifully textured and works perfectly. The visuals are carried off peerlessly and the editing, particularly transitions between scenes, are imaginative and cleverly executed. The script, as well as telling the story well, is warm, witty, very funny (both verbally and sight gags), full of jeopardy and memorable characters: it is an object lesson in what a script should be.The cast are excellent. Ben Whishaw's voice acting is superb (there is an almost inaudible sigh at one point, touchingly subtle). And Hugh Grant is a revelation in an hilarious performance where he manages to spoof himself as well as demonstrating unsuspected versatility. His song and dance routine over the closing titles is hysterical.This is not only a wonderful family film, it is a wonderful film full stop, and I recommend it highly.