Mary Poppins Returns
By James Davidson
When I was a small child, “Mary Poppins” captured my attention with the catchy, original songs and her many adventures through the streets of London with the Banks children; Jane and Michael. I was so enchanted with the movie that I even dressed up as a dancing chimney sweep for Halloween one year. Now, half a century after the original movie was released, Mary Poppins is back to help the Banks children out once again. Though this time around she is nannying Michael Banks’ children and using her magic to help him keep the house that he grew up in which is in danger of being taken over by the bank.
I was hoping that “Mary Poppins Returns” would be just as magical and captivating as the original was when I was a small child. While I think this is a good way to introduce a new generation to the beloved Mary Poppins and that Emily Blunt does a perfect job portraying her, this movie just felt a little flat for me.
In my opinion, the thing that made the original movie so fun was the songs. Everyone remembers “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” and “Spoonful of Sugar” and can probably still sing them today, fifty years after that movie was released. To me, “Mary Poppins Returns” just doesn’t have that special song (or songs) to set it apart. I thought that most of the new songs were, unfortunately, pretty forgettable. The movie used the instrumentals from the original songs in the score and I found myself humming and singing those in my head instead of the new ones.
While I thought that the music fell a little flat, I do believe the acting more than made up for it. Emily Blunt played Mary Poppins perfectly; she was perfectly cast and brings a classic character to life in this film. The other actors did a very good job as well, however Emily Blunt definitely steals the show. There are a few actors from the old movie that made cameos, most predominantly, Dick Van Dyke makes an appearance and even does a little dance, which I thought was perfect for the movie.
The original Mary Poppins is light and fun with no real bad guys; just a nanny, two children, and a chimney sweep going on adventures through London. “Mary Poppins Returns” has a slightly darker tone to it with an evil banker who is actively conspiring against the Banks and a parallel bad guy in one of the animated adventures Mary and the children go on. I didn’t really like the darker tone and thought the movie could have been better without it.
While “Mary Poppins Returns” is a fine movie on its own and I had fun watching it, it falls flat compared to its predecessor. I might be comparing the two movies too much, but I think the first was so great that it didn’t need a sequel. But if a sequel had to be made I think that the filmmakers did the best that they could.
“Mary Poppins Returns” is a fun movie for the whole family to enjoy, it’s a good way to introduce young children to a beloved classic. But don’t ignore the original. If you were a fan of the original, this movie is a fun, if not, second class sequel. However, you won’t find a better Mary Poppins than Emily Blunt. It earns 3 out of 5 stars.