Mary Poppins Returns is a sequel 54 years in the making. One of the longest gaps for any film sequel. I definitely didn’t know how to feel about it the first time I heard about it and I was even more confused when Emily Blunt was cast as Mary Poppins herself. In an age where Disney does mostly live-action remakes, I thought that’s what they were doing. Mary Poppins Returns actually takes place a mere 20 years after the original. Michael is a widower with three kids and Jane stays with him to help out. Since Mary Poppins is a magic nanny, it’s not hard to believe she doesn’t age. Mary Poppins returns when the Banks family is at their lowest point. Just like before, she introduces the children to a world of magic. They enter an underwater bathtub, an animated china bowl, and fly with balloons. So it’s not a complete retread. The children are more like miniature adults who need to learn how to have fun. Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Bertlike character is a lamplighter. Even Emily Blunt’s Mary Poppins feels different, but familiar (and very well performed). Which nicely describes the sequel. It feels like the closest thing to a classic Disney movie in a long time. It’s the small touches like using traditional animation or seeing that a 93 year old Dick Van Dyke can still dance (Julie Andrews didn’t want to be a distraction). The new songs are okay, but not too memorable. The climax is also a bit too suspenseful. That being said, nothing could wipe the smile off my face that Mary Poppins Returns gave me. I’m glad to see it get just as much awards attention as the original.
Preceded by: Mary Poppins