I saw the movie “Mary Poppins Returns” today with a friend.
Plot synopsis from IMDB: “Decades after her original visit, the magical nanny returns to help the Banks siblings and Michael’s children through a difficult time in their lives.”
A few things I liked:
- It mirrored the original movie (and the books) quite well but doesn’t copy. It is a continuation of the story.
- The music is fun and whimsical.
- Emily Blunt’s Mary Poppins is more smiley than Julie Andrews’s. She seems to care more for the kids and have more fun with teaching them life lessons.
- The new Banks kids look ready to stumble into Narnia.
- Lin-Manuel Miranda’s character, Jack, is joyful to watch and I dare you not to fall in love with his happy eyes and cheerful demeanor.
- Dick Van Dyke is over 90 and he still dances the happiest little jig in his cameo.
- Jane Banks’s clothing. Good colors but hideous patterns and combinations.
- …That might be it.
- I did find the songs a little too on the nose for the storyline. Nothing existed just to exist, it all tied in somehow with a moral lesson.
I was skeptical about the character of Jack – who is the Bert stand-in as companion in this movie. The genius of Lin-Manual Miranda aside, you cannot surpass Bert. Or perhaps you can. But Jack (who is connected to Bert, but you should watch the movie to find out how) does not try to surpass him. He develops a character all of his own. He is the rare adult character who recognizes what Mary Poppins can do and marvels at it but does not need to be taught by it.
And that, I think, is why his character really is the best in the movie. He worked with Mary Poppins in the past. He knows Bert. He comfortably takes part in all the adventures as a matter of course. Yet he still marvels and laughs with joy at it all. He is not like Michael and Jane, who forgot about their adventures with Mary Poppins. Neither is he like the children, who need to learn some life lessons. He bridges the gap between childlike wonder and adult responsibility. In doing so, he shines as an example of what a good adult should/could be like.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this happy sequel.