Emily Blunt reprises the role of the world’s most beloved nanny in Mary Poppins Returns, a sequel more than four decades after the original film. This time around, Mary Poppins comes back to help the Banks family before they lose their house and saves them from ruin, as well as helping their father to come to terms with the loss of his wife and discovering what it feels like to become a child again.
If the plot sounds familiar, it because it is. The sequel took the same plot of the original film for a new generation and while it could have been improved, the movie is entertaining. It feels a lot like the original, it looks exactly like it, they use the same color pallets, the same setting, and the same costume design: everything is familiar.
Even Mary Poppins, while played by a different actress, this time Emily Blunt who is fantastic in this role. It was not an easy task to replace Julie Andrews, who gave one of the best performance of all time as Mary, but Emily does make the character her own and while she doesn’t have the voice that Julie had, she does a good carrying the film. Ben Wishaw plays Michael Banks, all grown up from the first film. He is dealing with the loss of his wife and must pay his debts to the bank to Colin Firth, the current director of Fidelity Fiduciary Bank. Emily Mortimer plays his sister Jane Banks and both of them have forgotten the magic that Mary Poppins had shown them when they were kids. Lin-Manuel Miranda is also fine as Jack but doesn’t come close to matching the brilliance of Dick Van Dike’s performance of the original film. Dick Van Dike also comes back from a cameo and his scene did not disappoint. It was touching, heartfelt and he’s still got it as a dancer.
There are also some really good special effects, like the underwater scene when they enter the bathtub. The hand-drawn animation is also terrific and it captures the same tone of the first film.
As for negatives, the film has only one catchy song and that is the overture of the film, Under the London Sky. It was the only song I remembered coming out of the film and the only one that stuck with me, which is disappointing, this is Mary Poppins after all. All the songs from the original are rememberable and catchy songs whether it’s “Feed the birds” or ‘Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!” the songs were all wonderful.
It’s also a movie where a lot of what takes place didn’t need to happen and the script does that a few times, which kinds of make it bit pointless. It’s not as meaningful as the first film by any means but there are some touching moments nevertheless.
Overall, Mary Poppins is a fun and entertaining sequel, even though it borrows a lot of elements from the superior first film and does not improve upon them, it’s still a worthy experience for Emily Bunt’s delightful performance and introducing a new generation of kids to Mary Poppins.