Paddington 2 wins over our reviewer, David Vass

Freed from the exposition of the little bear’s arrival in London, the sequel to Paddington gets stuck straight into the action, with a meticulously constructed screenplay that is crammed full of huge laughs, but also thrills and genuine jeopardy.

This is a film that startles and confounds with its imaginative telling of a truly magical tale. With Sally Hawkins and Hugh Bonneville having markedly less to do this time, more screen time is given over to the villainy of Hugh Grant’s superb, scene-stealing Phoenix Buchanan, demonstrating Grant’s unrivalled comic timing. Just as good is Brendan Gleeson’s beautifully realised Knuckles McGinty, the hardened criminal won over by the taste of… Marmalade.

Of course, there is also Ben Whishaw’s faultless ability to capture the voice of Paddington combined with expert CGI rendering, but this is something that can only be appreciated in hindsight. When Paddington is running across the top of the train, or struggling to escape the depths of a river, or staggering around with a bucket stuck on his head, such thoughts never cross your mind. For 90 minutes, this is a real bear we’re watching, and one that touches everyone’s heart through his sweet natured wish to see the best in everyone. I challenge anyone to watch it and not spend the entire time grinning like a loon!

By David Vass