‘Mary Poppins Returns’ Fulfills Expectations

Even though sequels are usually inferior to the originals,

Walt Disney Pictures

Even though sequels are usually inferior to the originals, "Mary Poppins Returns" shatters the stigma.

Kennah Salvo, News Editor

Sequels rarely live up to the glory of their predecessors, and Disney’s “Mary Poppins” is so iconic, I couldn’t see how its sequel could possibly live up to the original. I walked into the theater to see “Mary Poppins Returns” with low expectations, but high hopes. In the end, my expectations were blown way out of the water and all but a few of my hopes were fulfilled.

The plot is based on the now-adults Jane (Emily Mortimer) and Michael Banks (Ben Whishaw), the children from the original movie. They are struck with money troubles after Michael’s wife dies, and the siblings must find a way to save their childhood home. In the midst of this, their childhood nanny Mary Poppins (Emily Blunt) reemerges to care for Michael’s children; Anabel (Pixie Davies), John (Nathanael Saleh), and Georgie (Joel Dawson).

While the new movie carries the same feel good family themes as the original, it surpasses the former in terms of overall success. There is suspense, a mystery, and interesting conflict that was missing from the original.

I also appreciated all of the musical numbers in “Mary Poppins Returns” that were nods to music in the original film. For example, “Can you Imagine That?” parallels the classic “Spoonful of Sugar” song performed by Julie Andrews years ago.

In addition, Dick Van Dyke, who played both Bert and Mr. Dawes Sr. in the original, returned for a role as Mr. Dawes Jr. Although he only appears for a few minutes at the end of the movie, the scene ends the film on a comedic note, and leaves the audience something to laugh about on the way out.  

The Balloon Lady (Angela Lansbury) is also a tribute to the original film, portraying the Bird Lady to whom Michael tries to give a tuppence as a child. The Balloon Lady is present in the closing scene of the movie which parallels the closing scene of the original.

I was only disappointed with the lack of an equivalent to “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious,” the most iconic musical number of the original score, and the personality of Mary Poppins herself. While she is definitely the same character, she seems changed, slightly stricter and even a little jaded. Part of Mary’s magic is that she stays forever young, so the changes were a little disappointing. All in all, the movie’s strong points far outweigh its weak points.

This is definitely a must see movie. Whether you’re a die hard fan of the original and the books, or have never seen hide nor hair of the magical nanny before, there’s something in this movie for everyone. I recommend it due to the excellent plot and nostalgic adaption executed by a first rate cast.