3. Paddington 2 (2017)

Paddington holding an orange in prison in Paddington 2

Sequel to: Paddington (2014)

Perhaps one of the more unexpected entries on this list, Paddington 2 stands out as an exceptional sequel for a number of reasons. It’s not often that movies based on beloved children’s books make for particularly popular cinematic fare, but 2014’s Paddington astonished audiences with the charm and competence with which it was made. Family-friendly CGI protagonists rarely make for films with wide appeal, but Paddington bucked the trend.

Though the original Paddington was well-received, Paddington 2 blew it out of the water. It checked every box that a sequel should: it advanced the story through a natural progression of its predecessor’s themes, and it took a deeper look at a previously unexplored element of the protagonist’s story. Although the first movie was good, the sequel was exceptional.

There’s so much to love about Paddington 2 that it’s difficult to condense it into just a handful of points. It’s a film packed with all the emotion one would expect from a family film, but it also makes excellent use of both pathos and humor without ever feeling trite. Paddington 2 proved to be one of those rare sequels that struck pure gold in a perfect combination of emotion, intrigue, and comfort, and it far surpassed even its decently enjoyable predecessor.