Poppins Returns - Review
Matthew Brady - wrote on 12/31/18
“One thing you should know about Mary Poppins: she never explains anything”.
This movie had a lot to live up with it being a sequel to a beloved classic. While I’ve seen the original movie on repeat as a child - it never had that massive impact on me like everyone else, but with each re-watch I found more enjoyment and appreciation for everything that went into it.
So this being a sequel made me curious and wary; I went into this expecting nothing to avoid any disappointment. I sat down, arms crossed and waited patiently for the trailers to be over. When it started, the first 10 or 20 minutes was fine, but I was still critical. After the first musical number “Can You Imagine That?”, I started to warm up a bit and relax more.
However, halfway through the movie I noticed something about myself - there was tears streaming down my cheeks, and for a rare moment, I breathed a sigh of relief and enjoyed the ride. This is the first time in awhile I would call my experience escapism.
Emily Blunt was an absolute delight as Mary Poppins. Blunt never imitations Julie Andrews portrayal and makes the role her own. I honestly couldn’t think of anyone else to fill in the shoes of the character than Blunt. Her sassy and deadpan wit makes this super nanny pure magic.
The other cast members were also solid: Lin-Manuel Miranda delivers a theatrical performance that elevates the films charm and brought a smile to my face. Ben Whishaw, on the other hand, was so heartbreaking as the grieving Michael Banks. You can feel the pain and stress in his voice. Emily Mortimer is good as Jane Banks , but felt under-use and didn’t offer anything to the story.
Also Dick Van Dyke dance scene, while short, was unbelievable. He’s got more energy than any wanna be dancer, and he’s 93 years old.
Rob Marshall gives the movie a Broadway-like touch similar to his previous work. The musical sequences with songs like “Nowhere to Go But Up” and "Can You Imagine That?" being colorful and a blast to watch, which adds to the escapism. The production design and choreography - mwah. He also tackles the more serious elements where the emotions from the characters are expressed through songs and the performances.
For issues: The songs themselves while fun, yet not super memorable and doesn't hold a candle to the 1965 film. After the movie was over, the songs didn't stick with me as I hoped. This might change over time.
The main villain played by Colin Firth is so cliched and cartoonist. I started to question why a movie like this needs a bad-guy - although I guess the climax needed to be more intense. He's even got a twirling mustache. When the character first appears on screen, I knew straight away there was something unpleasant about him and the foreshadowing involving an animated sequence was so painfully obvious. His character could have be great if it was written better.
Meryl Streep short appearance is so pointless and could've easily been cut out from the final daft. I wasn't sure what accent she was going for.
Overall rating: It's not flawless, yet it wasn't an abomination like some expected it to be. I would go as far to call it a satisfying sequel.
Perhaps we've learned when day is done, some stuff and nonsense could be fun.