I admit it: I was one of the lucky ones who got to see Mary Poppins Returns on the big screen early. When we walked in, I gasped in delight. I felt like I was watching the original Mary Poppins, but with brand new adventures.
Mary Poppins Returns: No need to dread this sequel
Some critics feel like Mary Poppins Returns doesn’t cover enough new ground. In fact, the plot parallels the original. But this doesn’t bother me. Besides, the movie wasn’t made for critics, but for audiences. Disney had a fine line to walk in creating a sequel that I initially questioned was necessary: fulfill expectations of legions of fans who adore an iconic classic, while at the same time presenting something surprising and fresh.
Mary Poppins Returns manages to do both, and it’s not an easy feat. In this new version, Michael, who was just a boy in the original, is all grown up, and a tragedy has taken place in his family. Both he, and his three children, need a miracle, and it arrives in the form of Mary Poppins.
Like Mary Poppins did with their father, she helps Michael’s children to come to understand the magic of impossible adventures. Mary Poppins never likes acknowledging the magic after it has taken place. But the impossible being possible makes such an indelible impression on the children: they always end up helping the adults find the magic in their world, and realize what they’ve been missing.
This is a fitting tribute to the original, while also helping the story resonate with a new generation. No one will ever lose sight of admiration for its predecessor.
Emily Blunt: How does she measure up?
Your burning question is probably: how is Emily Blunt as Mary Poppins? Does she measure up to Julie Andrews? Okay, let’s be real. Nobody could ever measure up to Julie Andrews as Mary Poppins, but Emily does a great job honoring that original performance. She’s beautiful, she’s nonchalant when it comes to the magic, and she actually has a good singing voice. And we all know that Lin-Manuel Miranda as a good-natured lamplighter (the counterpart to Bert’s chimney sweep in the original), is lovable and a fun performer. He does about as good a job as Dick Van Dyke with the Cockney accent, which isn’t great, but his charm and talent can overcome that flaw.
Which brings me to the two people who manage to steal the show. Dick Van Dyke is one of them, in a reprise you won’t want to miss and that is well worth the wait. And Meryl Streep as Mary Poppins’ cousin Topsy is charming and funny as the daughter of Uncle Albert, the man who in the original Mary Poppins floats to the ceiling when he laughs. For this new character, up is down, and down is up, and more magic is brewing in the teapot.
So check it out for your holiday fun. I don’t think you or your kids will be disappointed.