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Film Review: Mary Poppins Returns

Mary Poppins Returns (2018)

Directed by: Rob Marshall
Written by: David Magee, Rob Marshall & John DeLuca
Starring: Emily Blunt, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Ben Whishaw, Emily Mortimer, Pixie Davies, Nathanael Saleh, Julie Walters, Meryl Streep, Colin Firth, Dick Van Dyke & Angela Lansbury.

It’s been 54 years since Mary Poppins was released and the hype is real to have her back helping The Banks family!

Julie Andrews created an icon of cinema back in 1964 with Mary Poppins, leaving Emily Blunt with humongous shoes to fill in the sequel. I’m pleased to say that Blunt does an incredible job. She gives us classic Mary with just a spoonful of extra sass. There were moments where I had to look twice to make sure Julie Andrews wasn’t on screen after all. She’s charming and witty and really gives great vocal performances in the musical numbers. She returns to help Michael (Ben Whishaw) and Jane Banks (Emily Mortimer) as well as Michael’s children who have recently suffered the loss of their mother. The kids have had to grow up quickly to support their father, Michael, who is just about holding things together. The children playing John, Annabel and Georgie truly were superb. The risk of loosing their long term, family home at 17 Cherry Tree Lane pushes them all into panic and that’s where Mary steps in to sort them all out.

Along for the ride is Jack who lights lanterns and is quite handy with a ladder. Lin-Manuel Miranda does a fantastic job in filling the side kick role, which we saw Dick Van Dyke do in the original. He too gives an utterly charming performance which allows for the audience to instantly connect with him. The fantastic Julie Walters plays their maid, Ellen, and Colin Firth is the big bad Wilkins who is now in charge of the bank. Dick Van Dyke makes a special appearance and although his accent hasn’t got much better, at 93 years old that man has still got it! He’s a flipping legend. There’s also a lovely little moment with Angela Lansbury, another legend of Disney. Meryl Streep plays Mary’s cousin Topsy in one of my favourite parts of the film.

The plot of the film doesn’t stray too far from the original. In fact it practically follows the same story but gives us new variations of the scenes, which fits in with the roles of the new characters. Does it matter? Hell no! The part which replaces the animated fairground is excellent. Although an updated version, the animation used is exactly the same as the original, which I completely appreciated and enjoyed. There’s also some very exciting special appearances here which was a joy to see. I found it a little difficult to fully get into the new songs but that’s only because the ones from the original film are so well known – a second viewing would sort that out. ‘The Place Where Lost Things Go’ is a beautiful song though. It’s sentimental and fits in with the story of the film. I’m going to have to download that as soon as I’ve finished writing this.

Mary Poppins Returns is just full of nostalgia. It’s a bright, dazzling, feel good family film that has you smiling from ear to ear. It will easily slot in to the all time classic Disney film genre. Emily Blunt really is the only person who could have done the role justice and she deserves huge applause for her performance. What she gives us is magical and that’s how Mary Poppins should be.