Mary Poppins Returns (2018) reviewed by Jonathan Berk

Disney has been getting considerable heat lately with claims of their movie slate consisting of cheap attempts at cash grabs as they are mass producing live-action versions of their animated classics. That, along with all of the sequels that are slowly coming back, there was certainly some concern about Mary Poppins Returns (2018) being just another attempt at easy money. Of course, no one complains about giving Disney their money if the quality of the film is good. Thus, get ready to dump your pockets out to see this excellent sequel 54 years in the making.

Mary Poppins Returns brings the joy and love of the original

Michael Banks (Ben Whishaw) is having a hard time with everything after his wife passed away approximately one year prior. His three children, John (Nathanael Saleh), Anabel (Pixie Davies), and George (Joel Dawson) do a great job of helping out, but they’re in trouble of losing their house to the bank. Mary Poppins (Emily Blunt) flies in, returning decades later to help the Banks family once again.

It is extremely risky to take over the mantle of such a beloved character, but Emily Blunt nails it. There are so many moments in the film where Blunt demonstrates her love for this character. One of the most memorable moments comes as she and the children are admiring an event, and she suddenly decides that enough time has been dedicated to that action and turns her attention elsewhere. The love and joy she brings to this role should permeate through any walls of doubt viewers may bring to this film.

This sequel manages to make enough allusions to the original film without stealing or reusing any of the songs. Of course, then there could be concern that the music may not have the same appeal of the originals…fortunately, the songs are great, and the performances from the leary Jack (Lin-Manuel Miranda) and Mary Poppins are all spectacular. Even the young actors playing the Banks children manage to do a good job of bringing the joy to the film with their harmonized singing. It would have been easy to bring another rendition of Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, but instead, the film only alludes to moments from the other film, paying homage while forging something new.

Final thoughts…

Mary Poppins Returns is a film that instantly earns its way into family movie rotations. Much like its predecessor, this should be a film that grandparents show their grandkids for the next fifty years. There are so many moments that I would love to discuss, but I would hate to take away the wonder or surprise of these moments for others. This is a film that should be seen in the theater with phones off and let is pull you in. Mary Poppins Returns earns the Must See rating.

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