Mary Poppins Returns – Film Review

Mary Poppins is a classic character that had a film made in the 1960’s in which the creator hated the final product. Though that film is a classic to most audiences, Disney wasn’t able to make a sequel to the original until after P.L. Travers’ had passed and had an agreement with her estate to make another one. After all the hurdles the studio had to go through in order to make a sequel was it ultimately worth it? Maybe yes, maybe no. Though they do chose a great actress to truly capture both the film and book versions of the character into Emily Blunt’s performance — the end product doesn’t exceed the high expectations for the film.

If there is one thing you can say when you leave the film it is that Emily Blunt did an impossible task of following up Julie Andrews iconic performance and created her own rendition of the character that didn’t feel like an imitation or slander on what had been done before. She did look visually different from Julie’s character — but that was of a different time period. The casting of Lin Manuel Miranda is a solid choice in brining some needed diversity and a strong male performer to be Emily’s equal to the movie. Ben Whishaw and Emily Mortimer capture what the Banks’ children were in that original film and make them their own versions of the aged up characters.

Nothing’s gone forever, only out of place.

The story of the film I found to be derivative of the original and would have preferred to see Disney try a more direct adaptation of one of the books PL wrote than try to regurgitate the original in a new spin. Though the first film was so long ago there could be some level of forgiveness. I would say that I did enjoy the new elements of the story with the children grown up and learning to be adults while carrying on their family legacy. The 2D animation was a great treat in itself to see back on the big screen. I appreciate the work that went into making that sequence.

The supporting cast was great including Meryl Streep, Angela Lansbury, Colin Firth and the cameo by Dick Van Dyke. There is enough charm for audiences but I do feel that this film suffers from not having an identity of its own than just a resurgence of the property. I wish the songs were more memorable than just pleasant romps. Though the performances are great the film itself is just a nice time at the movies than one to remember.


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