Director: Rob Marshall
Cast: Emily Blunt, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Ben Whishaw. Emily Mortimer
Synopsis: Now an adult with three children, bank teller Michael Banks learns that his house will be repossessed in five days unless he can pay back a loan. His only hope is to find a missing certificate that shows proof of valuable shares that his father left him years earlier. Just as all seems lost, Michael and his sister receive the surprise of a lifetime when Mary Poppins — the beloved nanny from their childhood — arrives to save the day and take the Banks family on a magical, fun-filled adventure.
I loved Mary Poppins as a child from the cadence of Julie Andrews’ voice to the addictive songs to the excellent merging of live-action and animation decades before Who Framed Roger Rabbit and Space Jam, and while the sequel does not live up to the original, it is still a great tribute.
Mary Poppins Returns is set about 20 years after the first film and features an older Michael and Jane as Mary Poppins returns to the Banks household to take care of Michael’s children and help the Banks family in their time of need again.
A large part of what makes the film a success is that it harps a lot of the nostalgia connected to the first film (even the animated penguins make an appearance). There are a lot of callbacks to the original films (with many characters returning) so if you haven’t watched Mary Poppins recently, this is a good reason to rewatch as you will get a lot more of the in-jokes.
The one thing that I love the Screen Actors Guild Awards is that they truly appreciate the fact that Emily Blunt is an extraordinary actress. They previously nominated her for The Girl on the Train and they nominated her again this year for Mary Poppins Returns. Emily Blunt has said that she took her inspiration for the role not only by Julie Andrews in the first film but also from P.L Travers version in the book series. But Blunt is excellent in her role – reserved but grandeur, strict but playful. If anything it helps to depict her range in every role that she takes. The other actors paled in comparison, where Lin-Manuel Miranda was mesmerizing as he danced, his accent fell a bit short. Whishaw and Mortimer were adequate. The child actors, however, especially the one that played Georgie, were so adorable and captivating.
Two of my main gripes was the length of the film – it was far too long for a children’s film and I felt the length, it would have benefited from some more editing; the second gripe was with the fact that it resembled the first film too much. I understand that the nostalgic aspect was important, but it prevented them from forging their own path, the only truly memorable part of the film will be Emily Blunt’s performance when there is so much they could have done with the sequel. Even The Godfather Part 2 has its’ own legacy, and Mary Poppins Returns could have that same response.