Many years have passed since the 1964 classic told the story of the Banks family. Michael and Jane are all grown up and are once again in need of the world's number one nanny, Mary Poppins, when Michael and his children face losing their home.
It is often said that classic movies should be left untouched in regards to remakes and sequels. But in the case of Mary Poppins Returns, director Rob Marshall and Disney have taken the right amount of due care and dedication with such a highly regarded cinematic tale in order to create a safe modern classic for a new generation of impressionable children and parents alike.
This time around, English star Emily Blunt takes over the iconic role from legendary actress Julie Andrews and truly shines as our leading lady. One thing that is certainly apparent from Blunt’s performance is that, while also remaining true to the character that Andrews created with her interpretation all those years ago, she still manages to make her version of Mary Poppins her own. Whilst also feeling reinvented, Mary still feels like the nanny we all fell in love with over fifty years ago. The balance between the her arrogance and heartfelt charm is perfect.
As for the supporting cast, Lin-Manuel Miranda plays the role of Jack, a lamplighter who was an apprentice of Dick Van Dyke’s Bert in the 1964 original. Miranda successfully portrays a suitable companion which ultimately serves as a fantastic surrogate father figure to the children when they are transported to magical worlds, such as the bathtub world, with Mary Poppins. It’s also clear to see, not only with Miranda but with every single actor involved with this film, that they are having a wonderful time, which in turn helps the audience truly connect with the world portrayed on screen.
Even though the film follows a lot of the same plot points and beats of its predecessor, which in all honesty is really our only criticism of the film (along with a jarring BMX musical number), that doesn’t mean the film is any less enjoyable. Like previously stated, it was a safe play by everyone involved with production that still manages to create something thoroughly enjoyable with new catchy songs and, with the gap between the two being so large, cashes in on a brand new audience with plenty for old and new fans to enjoy like some very clever easter eggs and cameo appearances. One of the absolute best throwbacks in this sequel involves a plethora of hand drawn critters making a welcome return, with beautiful hand drawn special effects to accompany a superb musical number.
Mary Poppins has authentically returned and, no matter your age, you will once again feel childlike wonder as you are whisked away to fantastical worlds that teach everyone some very important lessons whilst also getting some incredible songs stuck in your head. It’s an absolute delight, and it shouldn’t be too long before this will be known as a true modern Disney classic.
MARY POPPINS RETURNS / CERT: U / DIRECTOR: ROB MARSHALL / SCREENPLAY: DAVID MAGEE, ROB MARSHALL, JOHN DELUCA / STARRING: EMILY BLUNT, EMILY MORTIMER, BEN WHISHAW, LIN-MANUEL MIRANDA, PIXIE DAVIES, NATHANAEL SALEH, JOEL DAWSON COLIN FIRTH, JULIE WALTERS / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW