Mary Poppins Returns

Mary Poppins is a Disney classic that even if you’ve never seen before you’ve probably heard one or two of the film’s catchy songs like "A Spoonful of Sugar," “Let’s Go Fly a Kite,” and of course "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious." It’s an infectious film that has stood the test of time thanks to Julie Andrews’ iconic performance. It’s difficult to imagine anyone else filling her shoes, but Emily Blunt picks up her umbrella for the sequel Mary Poppins Returns and makes the film every bit as charming and magical as the original.


40 years have passed since the events of the original film and Michael (Ben Whishaw) and Jane (Emily Mortimer) Banks are now all grown up, with Michael living in the same house he lived in as a child. Times are hard for Michael and his two children following the death of his wife, and to make matter worse the bank is foreclosing on the house due to unpaid bills. He must pay back the entirety of the loan he took out or he will lose the house. WIth everything falling apart in front of him, it’s the perfect time for one Mary Poppins (Emily Blunt) to return and bring a little magic to help brighten the day and remind everyone of the good inside of people.


Even though it’s been 56 years since the original film came out, Mary Poppins Returns doesn’t miss a beat in her triumphant homecoming. The film almost immediately puts a smile on your face; it doesn’t matter whether you’ve seen the first film or not. Emily Blunt emits a warmth and kindness just as Julie Andrews did in the role. She can be proper and make the children do what needs to be done at a moment’s call, but she can also sing and dance when necessary.


Speaking of singing and dancing, Mary Poppins Returns has some truly magical numbers in its repertoire, although they aren’t quite on the same level as the original. To be fair, that’s a difficult height to reach for any musical film. Hamilton’s Lin-Manuel Miranda lends his talents to the cast as Jack, a lamplighter and former apprentice of Bert from the original film. He brings with him the fast-paced hip-hop style lyrics to the music. "Trip a Little Light Fantastic" is just as wonderful as its namesake and has some brilliant choreography to go along with it. But by far the best song and dance routine in the film is "A Cover is Not the Book" sung by Miranda and Blunt. Not only is it a catchy tune, but it also incorporates some of the best animations within the context of the film. It’s a brilliant scene that encapsulates everything Mary Poppins stands for.


Mary Poppins Returns is the perfect family film of the holiday season and, like the original, will make you feel warm all over. I never thought anyone could replace Julie Andrews as Mary Poppins, but Emily Blunt absolutely nails the role perfectly. It’s a film that is sure to get your toes tapping, your head bobbing, and your face smiling wide.

Matt Rodriguez
Review by Matt Rodriguez
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