Mary Poppins Returns, 2018.
Directed by Rob Marshall.
Starring Emily Blunt, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Ben Whishaw, Emily Mortimer, Pixie Davies, Nathanael Saleh, Joel Dawson, Julie Walters, Meryl Streep, Colin Firth, Dick Van Dyke, and Angela Lansbury.
During a tumultuous time everyone’s favourite Nanny returns to help the Banks siblings and Michael’s young children.
It is a huge task to come up with a sequel to any successful movie and have it stand up to the original. It is an even bigger task to do it for a classic film, 50 years later with an entirely new cast (save one very fun cameo). Mary Poppins Returns manages to keep the spirit of the original, whilst juggling an emotional tale of growth and several big musical numbers in its 2 hour run time.
The Banks children are now all grown up and Michael has three young kids of his own who have had to become much more adult themselves after the loss of their mother. With the threat of the Fidelity Fiduciary Bank looming large once more Mary Poppins enters to breath magic back in the lives of the Banks family.
Emily Blunt is truly excellent as Mary Poppins, totally capturing all the things that made Mary Poppins such a beloved character. Wry humour, deadpan reaction to whimsy, joyous singing and total control of every situation she’s in. Blunt looks like she is having the time of her life and she gives everything to the role and it never feels like an impersonation of Julie Andrews but she makes the character totally her own. Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Jack the Lamplighter adds a second layer of joy and he equally looks to be having the time of his life in his role. His sense of wonderment is matched only by that of the children. Ben Whishaw adds so much emotional weight throughout as Michael Banks and every scene with him threatens to be a tear jerker. Every casting decision from Emily Mortimer as Jane, Julie Walters as Ellen and Colin Firth’s evil Wilkins are perfect choices.
Where the film falls down a bit is that whilst the musical numbers are well put together and choreographed only a couple of the songs are truly memorable in the way all the songs from the original are. A Cover is Not a Book and Nowhere to Go But Up could go alongside a Spoonful of Sugar and Let’s Go Fly a Kite but the rest are a little forgettable if I’m honest, however it is difficult to stand up to the iconic Richard Sherman that have been with many of us our entire childhoods. Also some of the musical numbers take a bit too long, which takes some of the urgency and peril away which is what really drives the story forward.
Small complaints aside, the whole experience from start to finish was so much fun, with incredible performances from a stellar cast. The plot is beautifully interwoven with the great lessons that Mary has for the kids (and the adults!) and whilst no one could possibly expect this to surpass the original, Rob Marshall and this cast have made a worthy successor, one that comes as close as possible to Mary’s own lofty standard, practically perfect in every way”.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★★★★ / Movie: ★★★★