Mary Poppins Returns

It’s been 54 years since everyone’s favorite enigmatic nanny has graced the silver screen in Walt Disney’s Mary Poppins and while most would argue that over half a century is much too long for a sequel, Mary Poppins Returns soars as its own stand-alone film while also playing the perfect companion piece to the 1964 classic. Mary Poppins Returns takes place in 1930s depression era London in the days of the “Great Slump.” The Banks children are all grown up. Michael (Ben Whishaw) lives with his three children, his sister Jane (Emily Mortimer), and their housekeeper on Cherry Tree Lane. After tragedy strikes, magical nanny Mary Poppins (Emily Blunt) re-enters the lives of the Banks family to infuse some much-needed joviality.

Director Rob Marshall

While the film is pretty much a paint-by-numbers duplication of its predecessor, director Rob Marshall (Chicago, Into the Woods) more than makes up for the lack of originality by seamlessly balancing the perfect mix of music, live action and animation. There is a bathtub scene featuring Poppins and her bottomless duffel bag, and a mad dash chase that takes place on the inside of a fine China bowl that are both worth the price of admission. When Disney announced a sequel to Mary Poppins, it was evident that Julie Andrews couldn’t reprise her iconic role. Emily Blunt had some gigantic shoes to fill and she is simply transcendent. Blunt’s performance as Mary Poppins is so “spit” spot on that we will surely be mentioning her name come Academy Awards season. Mary Poppins Returns is a joyous triumph that provides that spoonful of sugar that will have audiences cheering and lining up in droves this holiday season.

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By SCOTT PETERSON | @CineSportsTalk