[Header Image: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures]
The original Mary Poppins is one of my favourite movies of all time and I made sure not to get my hopes up about this sequel especially considering the amount of time that has past since the first movie. That being said, this one isn’t quite as good but it’s still fantastic. Something I particularly liked about it is that you can get away without seeing the first movie. It does help to know Jane and Michael’s history with Mary Poppins and there are appearances or mentions of past characters but Mary Poppins Returns never relies on you having seen the previous movie.
The sequel has its own soundtrack, some new characters, and a different story that is similar enough that it has the same vibe as the first movie making it feel more like a sequel. For those who don’t know, this movie takes place when the two Banks children, Jane and Michael, who adults. Mary Poppins comes back to look after them along with Michael’s three children.
Like the first movie, there are some scenes that mix animation with live action but each is brand new while still carrying the same colourful vibe. The songs throughout are catchy and are often about real life things or have a good dance number to go along with it. Also, if you’re a big fan of the big song and dance number involving all of the chimney sweeps in the first movie then there is a similar scene in this movie but involving a different set of characters.
The children are similar to their father and aunt but are not exact copies of them meaning we get a familiar dynamic to what we saw between Michael, Jane, and Mary Poppins in the first movie only with some differences so it doesn’t seem too repetitive or lazy. Also, instead of recasting Bert, they introduce Lin-Manuel Miranda as Jack who often appears throughout the movie just like Bert did the first one.
The sequel manages to capture the fun, magic, and entertainment factor of the previous movie. There are enough similarities that it feels connected despite the fact that the cast is different but not so similar that you become bored or even irritated at the lack of originality. I will admit, I don’t think it hit quite as well as Mary Poppins but I do appreciate that they managed to pull off such a good movie that was very deserving of following the original. It’s got beautifully shot scenes, catchy music, a talented cast, and manages to move through the story swiftly but not carelessly.
If you’re a fan of the original then I think you’ll very much enjoy Mary Poppins Returns. It has a lot of respect but isn’t afraid to do its own thing. I’m not sure it’ll be a hit in the same way but it certainly is deserving of a lot of love.
Rating: ★★★★ /5