It’s been over 50 years since Mary Poppins first stepped onto the silver screen, and this long overdue sequel isn’t a moment too soon. Mary Poppins has a habit of showing up at just the right moment and this latest incarnation is no exception.
Director Rob Marshall’s “Mary Poppins Returns” picks up the story of the Banks children a few decades later and in the middle of the Great Slump (or Great Depression). Jane (Emily Mortimer) seems to have followed in her mother’s social justic footsteps, while Michael (Ben Whishaw) is recently widowed and raising his three children. Mary makes quick work of cleaning things up both literally and then figuratively.
From there the story is pretty familiar. The chimney sweeps are now lamplighters, the chalk drawings are a ceramic bowl, and the kites are balloons.
It sticks to the original with a loyalty that would be frustrating if it wasn’t so delightful. Plus, it’s hard to care as you take in the parade of high-profile side characters from the likes of Meryl Streep and Angela Lansbury, and even a cameo from the original Jane, Karen Dotrice.
While no one will ever replace Julie Andrews as The Mary Poppins, Emily Blunt as the magical nanny is practically perfect. Her no nonsense approach is spot on and has a delightful amount of sass.
As Burt’s protege, Jack, Lin-Manuel Miranda is as lovable as you’d imagine. His character provides the same sweetness and levity as Dick Van Dyke, but with a vastly improved accent.
All in all it’s a sweet trip down memory lane that respects the original while possibly setting up a future expansion of the franchise.
…just for fun: