Mary Popins Returns—Movie Review

As always, this movie review is spoiler-free.

Mary Popins Returns is the story of Michael Banks, now grown up, and his three children as they learn to cope with life challenges with Mary Popins as guide. Here are my impressions of the film:

Musical Memories—The original Mary Popins movie is full of iconic ditties like “Feed the Birds”, “Chim Chim Cher-ree”, and “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious”. Mary Popins Returns does a wonderful job incorporating motifs from the original movie into new songs. While none of these songs are as catchy as the originals (you don’t necessarily leave the theatre singing), they channel all the charm and cleverness of the original. The orchestration is in keeping with the original music, as is the choreography.

Practically Perfect Popins—Emily Blunt makes a wonderful Mary Popins, emulating Julie Andrews’ mannerisms and singing beautifully. The writers nailed Mary’s paradoxically no-nonsense whimsicality. Her character was my favorite part of the show. After all, Mary Popins is among the great iconic characters, up there with Sherlock Holmes and Scrooge. Lin-Manuel Miranda also made a great Jack (the Burt equivalent in this movie) although his accent was rough at times.

Animation—The animation harkened back to the original Popins film, with plenty of “stuff and nonsense”. I thought it odd that one of the animation scenes was in a CGI style and the rest were cartoons. Either way, the animation was fun, and played an important purpose within both the thematic and the plot architectures of the film.

Overall, I give Mary Popins Returns 4 out of 5 stars. It was a delightful throwback paying tribute to the original. No sequel could hope to supersede the original Mary Popins, but Mary Popins Returns is a worthy expansion of the story, though not an instant classic. It made me smile, and that is why I liked it.

What did you think about Mary Popins Returns?

—M.M.

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