55 years ago, audiences were treated to the release of ‘Mary Poppins’, a beloved family classic. However, did said classic ever warrant or need a sequel? 2018’s ‘Mary Poppins Returns’ is what we have to answer this question and to find out whether it is a product of love for the character or in fact just another derivative money-making scheme.
The sequel sees itself set many, many years after the original, with the Banks children of the original now adults, trying to handle their own struggles and overcome obstacles. As the title suggests Mary Poppins does indeed return- in the form of Emily Blunt this time and takes care of both the past and next generation of Banks children. With a plot like this, plenty of opportunities for positive messages and lessons for kids present themselves. Such as the fact that Mary Poppins teaches everyone that obstacles can be overcome and encourages imagination, hard work and empathetic behaviours. Even including ‘lessons’ on the importance of family and optimism, even in situations where one could feel all hope is lost.
As I did say before, the plot follows the Bank children from the 1964 original, all grown up. Michael, lives on the very same house on Cherry Tree Lane and is struggling to make ends meet and raise his three children. And so in their struggles, Mary Poppins returns when the Banks need him the most. So where does this film fit, full of heart or unquestionably superficial? Truth be told, it is a bit of both. Blunt’s performance helps aid the former as she does her best to stay out of the huge shadow cast by Julie Andrews, bringing her performance closer to the original iteration from PL Travers’ novel. Hamilton star Lin Manuel Miranda also stars in this film with an accent reminiscent of Dick Van Dyke’s- one of the film’s greatest abilities is actually that of its capability to effectively play off the nostalgia of audiences. The musical numbers also bring great charm but ultimately fall flat and do not feel particularly memorable. Personally, I found that the greatest flaw of the movie is the fact that the story is ultimately very predictable and while it’s old school DisneyTM charm will help coax older audiences into enjoyment, it will not keep them from noticing the ppaper-thinplot that plagues the movie.
To sum it up, this film is great for nostalgia and the entertainment of children, it isn’t good for much else. Despite entertaining song numbers, the film just simply is not. While your nostalgia may get a kick out of this film, you probably won’t be recommending it to your peers.