Mary Poppins Returns is a musical fantasy film directed by Rob Marshall and was written by David Magee. It is based on the book series Mary Poppins by P. L. Travers and is the sequel to the 1964 film Mary Poppins. It stars Emily Blunt, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Ben Whishaw, Emily Mortimer, Julie Walters, Dick Van Dyke, Angela Lansbury, Colin Firth, and Meryl Streep.
The Story/The Direction:
The film takes place in 1930s London, twenty-five years after the events of the original film. Mary Poppins (Blunt) makes her return to help the Banks family once again. She becomes the nanny of Michael Banks (Whishaw)'s children and helps the entire family deal with tragedy. Along the way, they interact with Bert's protege, Jack (Miranda), and members of Mary Poppins's family.
Marshall taps into the original but also adds a new theme of dealing with grief and tragedy. He is able to tell this complex message to children in a fairly simple and family-friendly manner. Discussing death is a very difficult conversation for anyone and even more so with children. He is able to tell this message through the entire film from the plot to the music and this is the heart of the film. He created a film that is filled with love and homage to the original but also a lot of new things as well.
Blunt has had an uphill battle ever since she was cast in this film due to Julie Andrews iconic portrayal. However, she was able to make it up the hill and captures each mannerism fantastically while also adding her own flair. She does not replace Andrews but she does make this role her own does so perfectly. Miranda as Jack does a good job as playing this film's Bert and the rest of the cast is great and a whole lot of fun to see on screen. Streep does perhaps the best as Topsy in her one scene.
One of the biggest issues with this film is that it does copy a lot of the plot points of the original film. Furthermore, the songs are fairly identical in their purpose so much so that one can state, "This song was this film's version of [insert song]." However, that does not take away from the quality of the songs. Secondly, Jane Banks had very little to do in the film similar to that of her mother in the first film. While her minimal story does make sense given her family, she did not do much.
This film may be similar to that of Star Wars - Episode VII: The Force Awakens, however, this film is able to have a new message that really pushes it past a copy of the original. Blunt is practically perfect in every way and the story is fairly touching that will make any fan happy. This film does not require a watch of the original however it does help. This is what makes a great sequel, a film that can stand on its own for multiple viewings and eventually owning on Bluray.
Rating: 4.5/5.0 bowties
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