A Practically Perfect Sequel | Review of ‘Mary Poppins Returns’

By Cynthia Bujnicki

Mary Poppins Returns starring Emily Blunt, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Ben Whishaw, Emily Mortimer, Julie Walters, Dick Van Dyke, Angela Lansbury, Colin Firth & Meryl Streep
Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Image Credit: IMDB

“Decades after her original visit, the magical nanny returns to help the Banks siblings and Michael’s children through a difficult time in their lives.” —IMDB

What a wonderful sequel. Mary Poppins returns stars Emily Blunt as the titular magical nanny alongside the musical talents of Lin-Manuel Miranda as they take the Banks kids on a beautiful journey. Let’s get this straight, Emily Blunt was practically perfect in every way, capturing the essence created by Julie Andrews while also making the role her own in this fantastic sequel. It was a magical performance that captured the essence of what made the original film so great.

The delight of the movie is the fact that it uses music and magic to bring childhood delight to everyone. The sense of wonderment that adults seem to have forgotten come back to them in little increments. It shows the audience, and the Ban’s family, that growing up doesn’t have to be so tedious and boring, it can have joy in it and life, it can have color and doesn’t need to be a slump. Not everything has to be — or should be — all about work, and a little fun is okay.

The film works, by bringing in little rays of sunshine to the Bank’s family by bringing this message to life, much like with the original, but in a completely different way. The writers knew how to adapt the story, to the movie it forward and leave the original untarnished while also breathing new life into it, and it worked so well. It was funny, it was sad, and it was heartwarming.

I will say this, as a fan of P.L. Travers, the film used a little too much CGI and animation to make this film pop. In modern times, that’s okay, they also lacked this sort of technology back in the day, but P.L. Travers hated animation and fought Walt Disney on it during the making of the original, so I don’t think she would have appreciated it much. It brought a higher level of vibrancy to the film, of that there is no doubt, but there are times where the film seemed to rely too heavily on it.

Then there were the musical numbers. They were by no means terrible. No, they were fun and catchy, but something about them just wasn’t memorable enough like the original. In a way, it seems like the songwriters got a little lost in trying to create something fun and catchy that they forgot some of the magic to make them memorable. There was nothing supercalifragilisticexpialidocious about them. Moreover, the choreography was also great, but sorry, there is no topping the chimney top scene from the original. Again, it wasn’t bad, and understandably there’s only so much that can be done with what the story gives the choreographers and songwriters to work with, but it falls short in comparison to the original.

Again, this film was practically perfect in every way and was a great sequel to the original, but sometimes more isn’t better, and it seems like this film tried to do more and use more technology to make the movie stand apart and capture new audiences than utilize the overall simplicity that made the original so magical. (★★★☆ | A)

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—Film Credits—

Directed by Rob Marshall

Screenplay by David Magee

Story by David Magee, Rob Marshall & John DeLuca

Based on Mary Poppins by P. L. Travers

Starring: Emily Blunt, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Ben Whishaw, Emily Mortimer, Julie Walters, Dick Van Dyke, Angela Lansbury, Colin Firth & Meryl Streep

Rating | Length | Genre: PG | 2h 10min | ComedyFamilyFantasy

Distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

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