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Emily Blunt is Mary Poppins in Disney’s Mary Poppins Returns. Courtesy of Walt Disney Pictures

Movie Review: Mary Poppins Returns

Emily Blunt shines as the magical nanny, Mary Poppins, in the sequel to the 1964 film.

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The Banks kids are back, and in desperate need of a nanny. In this charming sequel, Mary Poppins, played by Emily Blunt, returns with as much creativity, fun, and enjoyment as the original film.

Disney’s Mary Poppins Returns takes place roughly 20 years after the original flick, and follows the grown-up Banks siblings Jane and recently-widowed Michael. Michael’s three kids—Anabel, Georgie, and John—are mature and self-sufficient, but are lacking a motherly figure after the passing of their mum. Meanwhile, Michael is in danger of losing their family home to the local bank, run by Colin Firth as a mustachioed bad guy.

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Lin-Manuel Miranda—of Hamilton fame—plays Jack, a street lamp lighter, who perfectly compliments Blunt’s goofy but prim Poppins. Unlike the original film, Jack and Poppins have a purely platonic relationship, with Jack fancying someone else in the cast.

Mary Poppins Returns
Jack (Lin-Manuel Miranda), Annabel (Pixie Davies), Georgie (Joel Dawson), John (Nathanael Saleh), and Mary Poppins (Emily Blunt) in Disney’s original musical Mary Poppins Returns. Courtesy of Walt Disney Pictures

The three Banks kids and Mary Poppins set out on a search to find the misplaced deed to the Banks’ home by midnight, taking adventures through a magical bathtub land and an upside down world with Topsy, played by Meryl Streep. Watch for cameo appearances by Dick Van Dyke and Angela Lansbury.

Blunt’s Poppins portrayal is more austere and stern than the original, but she comes to life in the stand-out scene involving a throwback to ’60s-style animation, featuring stellar musical numbers with Jack.

Topping out at over two hours, this sequel brings back all the magic of the original. Throughout the film, Poppins teaches Michael, Jane, and the youngest Banks kids the power of their imagination and the magic of everyday life.

It’s been more than 50 years since Mary Poppins hit theaters, and viewers are sure to feel nostalgic for the original film. For a new generation of Poppins’ fans, the sequel brings more flash—think BMX dance scenes, Lin-Manuel Miranda rapping, and 92-year-old Dick Van Dyke tap dancing on a desk. But appearances from Poppins’ sarcastic talking umbrella and magical carpet bag help connect fans of the classic to the new. This sequel has enough plot and pizzazz that kids will fall in love with the Banks family and their whimsical nanny, even if they haven’t seen the first film, and everyone will enjoy the story.

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Release Date: December 19
Rating: PG

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