There is more magic on the screen than there is in watching Mary Poppins Returns; while there is plenty to enjoy, I could never attach myself.
Mary Poppins returns to take the new Banks children under her wing while grownup Michael Banks, with the help of his sister, has to fight time and the bank to keep their childhood home.
Emily Blunt is terrific at stepping into the shoes of Mary Poppins, she disappears into the role and does everything she needed to become the famous nanny. She delivers that wry, sarcastic humor with no problem, she steps up and proves she can sing and dance at any moment, she looks the part exactly, I don’t believe anyone else could’ve done a better job. Ben Whishaw is receiving high praise for his more limited role as Michael Banks, and I agree. He is a father first in a time of trouble and Whishaw does a good job going back and forth between containing his anger in front of the children and being a loving parent. Lin Manuel-Miranda sings and dances well, as expected, however his character feels somewhat forced into the plot because they wanted to use Manuel-Miranda as much as possible because they were able to attach him to the script in the first place. Meryl Streep makes a solid cameo and Colin Firth does his best as the clichéd greedy banker.
Mary Poppins Returns puts on a display of wonder and amusement as Mary Poppins uses her magic to entertain and teach the children. Easily my favorite sequence of the movie, Poppins and the kids dive into a 2D animated world where there are talking animals. Not just does it bring nostalgia for old Disney animation, but it also provides some of the most exciting action and dance numbers in the entire film. For the most part, the film doesn’t do anything wrong other than it could’ve been paced a little faster. The music is all nice, but none of it stuck. Usually when I see a film that is musically-based I listen to the soundtrack shortly after exiting the cinema. More than a week later, and I still haven’t returned to the Mary Poppins Returns soundtrack. Maybe someday I’ll choose to go back and listen to it, but I’m in no rush.
If you’re desperate for a contemporary Mary Poppins reimagination, this film should suffice. I say Mary Poppins Returns is worth giving a look simply because Emily Blunt and 2D animation both deliver. 7.5/10