Film Review: Mary Poppins Returns
Mary Poppins Returns is a movie I’ve looked forward to since the announcement of the remake, and even more since the casting of Emily Blunt to fill Julie Andrews’ iconic shoes in the title role. As with the other remakes (or sequels) of popular classics, I expected it to cater to childhood nostalgia while offering something fresh for a new generation.
What I found was a delightful movie that’s not quite supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.
Helmed by Rob Marshall, who is no stranger to bringing musicals to the screen, the sequel looks and feels very much like the 1964 original. But next to one of the most distinguished musicals of all time that was filled with catchy songs and unforgettable performances, Mary Poppins Returns performances are entertaining yet forgettable – a bitter truth that can’t even be helped by a spoonful of sugar.
The movie takes us to 1930’s London where things are looking dreary for the, now adult, Banks children, Michael (Ben Wishaw) and Jane (Emily Mortimer). Michael, who has three children, is still reeling from the loss of his wife and is about to lose their family home unless he can pay back the loan in full. The only thing that could save the house from repossession is the bank certificate proving that they possess valuable shares in the bank purchased by their father, and unfortunately it is missing.
Enter Mary Poppins, the beloved nanny from their childhood, flying in (literally – on a kite) to save the day. As they all try to come up with a way to save the house, Mary takes the children on a series of adventures and teaches them lessons, in classic Mary Poppins style, along the way.
Here we are taken on a trip down memory lane as we experience the same structure and concept of the original, and are even graced with an energetic cameo from Dick Van Dyke, which feels more like a fun tribute to the first film.
While the movie was certainly enjoyable, especially for kids with the bright colours and upbeat tempo, it is best watched without any expectations. As with any sequel, it is difficult not to compare it to the first, and it’s tricky having so much to live up to. However, even when falling short on finding its own magic, Mary Poppins Returns is whimsical and fun entertainment for the family.
Emily Blunt as Mary Poppins said it best, “Perhaps we’ve learned when day is done, some stuff and nonsense could be fun.” This movie is precisely that.
Written by Dianne Lopez-Mahoney