For the second time in the last few years, a polite British bear has found his way back into the hearts of the American public. Paddington 2 is among a rare breed of movies that have somehow attained 100% on the Rotten Tomatoes, so it seems Paddington’s charm has again carried him far. Like the first Paddington, the sequel follows the misadventures of a young bear that has found his way to London and into the care of a quirky but devoted family.
He has just settled in to living with humans when a bizarre series of accidents catapults Paddington into prison, and his adoptive family, the Browns, are sent on a wild goose chase for a vanishing criminal. A description of its strangely Bond-esque premise does not do the humor of the movie justice; the sticky marmalade pawprints of Paddington bear are left in even the wildest of situations, warming the hearts of the movie’s jailbirds and unfolding an incredibly funny story of innocent mistakes and another devilishly preposterous villain. The film is filled with the culture and nostalgia for a fictitious but well-beloved London, populated with somehow believable Brits and people not at all surprised to meet a talking bear.
The original Paddington bear childrens’ stories were inspired by the many displaced children during World War II, who, like the young Peruvian bear, wound up in unfamiliar train stations with nothing but a suitcase and a label. Paddington’s adventures are therefore always tales of him finding his way when he is haplessly and hopelessly unlike everyone else, and while he’s at it, brightening the dull lives of everyone he meets.
Go see Paddington 2, go along for Paddington’s madcap ride. After all, the film’s greatest enthusiasts have been adults. We all need a bit of marmalade and good cheer in our lives.