Title – Mary Poppins Returns (2018)
Director – Rob Marshall (Chicago)
Cast – Emily Blunt, Ben Whishaw, Emily Mortimer, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Julie Walters, Meryl Streep, Colin Firth
Plot – Magical nanny Mary Poppins (Blunt) returns to help out the Banks family once more after a grown up Michael (Whishaw) finds himself struggling to maintain his house and life after his wife passes away.
“I’ve come to look after the Banks children”
Review by Eddie on 04/07/2019
It’s been a long time between spoonful’s of sugar, but finally the world got another dose of Mary Poppins magic late last year, over 50 years since the 1964 Disney original become a fan favourite to many around the globe.
We didn’t exactly need another venture filled with magic and wonder, as the original is one of those rare films that seems transcendent to time and age, yet taking on board the slightly unenviable task, director Rob Marshall (an old hand in the musical department) has given this sequel a good crack as we once more get transported to London town of old for an all new whimsical and song filled journey.
When compared directly to the 1964 product, Mary Poppins Returns pales in comparison with its lack of genuinely memorable songs, slightly annoying children and lack of thrilling plot holding it back from any type of great feats but its kind-hearted nature, wonderful set design and joyfully constructed set pieces, including a fantastic animated sequence and a late night romp through London’s back ally’s, make this slight but fun sequel a nice companion piece.
Front and centre of this modern day incarnation is Emily Blunt who is as great as you’d expect as our different looking magical nanny.
Whilst nowhere near as instantly iconic as Julie Andrews original and never to be bettered take on the character, Blunt is having a blast sinking her teeth into this beloved character and whenever she’s on screen, particularly whenever she gets to share the allocated screen-time with Broadway star Lin-Manuel Miranda as the happy go lucky Jack, Blunt is a bundle of joy.
Where Marshall’s film falters despite Blunt’s committed and likeable turn is its creation of all the side players.
From Meryl Streep’s kooky cousin Topsy, Ben Whishaw and Emily Mortimer’s thankless roles as the grown up Banks children, Colin Firth’s pointless rich man villain Wilkins and particularly the three new rather forgettable young generation of Banks children, Returns doesn’t surround Miss Poppins with the best collection of supporting players who all tend to flail about in a narrative that takes too long to deal with the Banks possibly losing their family home because their father can’t manage his finances.
This basic and lame plot line could’ve been saved by a collection of toe-tapping and sing along worthy songs, and while there are a few memorable little ditties such as Trip a Little Light Fantastic and the Oscar nominated The Place Where Lost Things Go, mostly the musically tinged Returns fails to really set-fire in this space, leaving Blunt and the production crew too much to do to try and make Returns truly soar to the sky’s, even if the late appearance of original male lead Dick Van Dyke threatens to do just that.
Final Say –
Well-intentioned and with some fun and colourful moments, Mary Poppins Returns is a nice enough addition to the beloved characters cannon that never gets close to the original’s magical nature, despite the best efforts of its lead Emily Blunt and some top-notch visual flourishes.
3 BMX gas-lamp lighters out of 5