A sequel to the 1964 Mary Poppins? After 55 years, somehow it has earned a revival. With Disney bringing back a lot of the old classics and turning them into live actions movies, I can’t see what they could possibly change from its predecessor. Is it going to be supercalifragilisticexpialidocious or is it going to be something quite atrocious?
Decades after her original visit, the magical nanny returns. With their mother passing away, Michael Banks (Ben Whishaw) is struggling to keep a track of their finances as well as looking after the 3 children. Mary Poppins (Emily Blunt) comes out of the sky to give the family a helping hand to restore order to the family home. With Michael and his sister, Jane Banks (Emily Mortimer) trying to find a bank-shares document to save the house, Mary Poppins and Jack (Lin-Manuel Miranda) take the kids on a magical, fantasy, musical adventures.
Director Rob Marshall (known for Chicago & Into The Woods) and Writer David Magee bring back the nostalgic vibes, but did they bring too much back? What made the first Mary Poppins so great was the even distribution of musical and narrative. Mary Poppins Returns with somewhat of a bang but forever switches between upbeat and entertaining to terribly dull and boring. The musical numbers were strong in places and catchy for audiences to leave the cinema singing along without even realising. However, it did start to drag as the story became predictable and the songs started to become rather irritating. It’s like they tried too hard to replicate the past. The set and costume design were on-point in places, so much so they replicated some of the outfits from the 1964 version, giving it that burst of colour which gave the film so-what of a lift. Yes, bring back the past, by all means, but the construction of the story morphed with the musical felt like it was involved it was in minor car accident. Nothing seemed to bond together. We were all up for a song and dance but the story went missing because of all the articulated choreography.
To give credit where credit is due, Emily Blunt did perform remarkably and accentuate those nostalgic vibes Rob Marshall was trying to recreate. Lin-Manuel Miranda supported Blunt with poise and made the musical numbers more enjoyable with his cheeky cockney accent. There were points where the acting became stale. The Banks children played by Pixie Davies, Nathanael Saleh and Joel Dawson were at times cute and adorable in their on-screen bonding but you can’t help but think they were not ready for such a prolific role in a sequel to an iconic Disney movie. Colin Firth played the evil banker, Wilkins but was made out to not be that evil whatsoever. His character seemed to have gone missing in the midst of all the singing and dancing. The film may have been well cast with the likes of Meryl Streep, Julie Walters and even Dick Van Dyke in support but their presence wasn’t felt, I may have slightly smiled because of their appearance but it did not make the film any better.
I will take into consideration; I am a 22-year-old grown man, watching a musical-fantasy film made for kids. That aside, younger audiences will enjoy the colourful displays and musical numbers to get their imaginations going. But, from a story perspective, it could have been constructed better. It was thrown together by Marshall and Magee. I tapped my feet along to the beat but it wasn’t totally expialidocious. You might walk out of the cinema humming along but by the time you wake up the next morning, the melody will have floated away like a helium balloon.