Directed once more by Paul King, who also created the script with his writing partner Simon Farnaby, the film picks up where the original left off, with Paddington living happily in Windsor Gardens with the Brown family. As his beloved Aunt Lucys 100th birthday approaches, Paddington takes on a series of odd jobs in order to afford the perfect gift for her, an antique pop-up book of London. When the book is mysteriously stolen, Paddington soon becomes the prime suspect, and with the little bear facing some serious jail time, it is up to the Brown family and members of the local community, who have taken him to their hearts, to prove his innocence and unmask the real villain. The bar was set high after the critical and commercial success of the original, but happily, unlike many modern sequels this film doesnt disappoint. Hugh Bonnerville and Sally Hawkins are again superb as Paddingtons adopted parents with Hawkins particularly bringing an endearing warmth to the character of Mary. Peter Capaldi and Julie Walters also reprise their roles from the first film with entertaining results, however it is the casts newcomers Brendan Gleeson and Hugh Grant who steal the show. Gleeson is hilarious as Knuckles McGinty a gruff prison inmate who befriends Paddington. While Grants portrayal of the self-obsessed actor Phoenix Buchanan, is definitely a career highlight. He is a joy to watch as he embraces the role of the scheming baddie, donning various disguises and teetering on the brink of madness throughout. The special effects used to create Paddington himself are faultless and coupled with Ben Whishaws perfectly suited voice, youd be forgiven for thinking the softly spoken bear was real but simply well trained. The script is also superbly written. The slapstick comedy created from Paddingtons attempts at hairdressing and window cleaning are laugh out loud funny, but King and Farnaby avoid retreading any old ground, cleverly giving every new plot thread a satisfying pay off. Overall, Paddington 2 is a delight which deserves all the plaudits that have been bestowed upon it. With a charming message about being kind to people, it is both funny and heartwarming in equal measure, A perfect family film for the holidays.