Mary Poppins Returns Review: Emily Blunt’s Excellence Ensures Its Success

Advika Hue |Jan 06, 2019

Mary Poppins Returns is lacking in originality but the excellent acting of Emily Blunt receives positive reviews.

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Director: Rob Marshall
Cast: Emily Blunt, Ben Whishaw, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Emily Mortimer, Meryl Streep, Colin Firth
Rating: 3 out of 5

In his recently written article called ‘The new wave of nice core: How the dark age of Donald Trump is inspiring movies to choose kindness over conflict,’ David Ehrlich, a critic of IndieWire, pointed out a thesis that difficult situations like the society we are living in will urge people to make difficult decisions. “Paddington 2” and “Hearts Beat Loud”, two movies that were listed in the article, have made that decision for us. They focus on the kindness of people in the world full of hate. Because sometimes, the best way to resist is to stand for what the opposite side disregards.

This article was written before Eighth Grade of Bo Burnham, Roma of Alfonso Cuaron and Mary Poppins Returns was released. They are the perfect example of the idea mentioned above.

Mary Poppins Returns was released half a century after its prequel, which is the longest time between two parts of a series ever. The characters were put in a situation when they had to make important decisions and deal with the numerous conflicts, just like everybody else in the world nowadays.

Being caught in situations like that, we tend to pray to heaven, whether we are religious or not. The children of the Banks did just exactly the same when there was a severe problem occurred at home. But instead of God, a woman descended from the clouds, with a smile on her stern face, and a big umbrella over her head.

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Mary Poppins Returns is gentle and bright, a suitable movie for children. It was made with an undying passion for the classic which is still being loved by many until today. However, just like the case of the follow-up of Trainspotting by Danny Boyle, you might feel that there are excesses in admiration when watching the movie. The classic echoes throughout the scenes and leaves the audiences with feelings of nostalgia.

It’s easy to understand since nostalgia comforts us and make us feel like we’re protected and looked after. We can easily find security in familiarity. However, it’s the one real problem of the movie. Giving comfort is one thing but giving a lot of sugar to a child hoping he will get tired and get himself to sleep is quite another. It’s just like what happened in the movie, the first time is being empathetic with others but the second time is only for selfish motivations.

Disney acknowledges the fact that Mary Poppins is a particularly cherished movie in its genre. Its popularity which lasted for a long time and was supported by the success of the biopic movie “Saving Mr.Banks” was ready to be exploited. It’s quite a surprise that they waited this long to make the sequel. Yet Mary Poppins Returns is described to be safe, even being judged by the standards of Mouse House. However, the reviews were not pessimistic.

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For example, the perfect cast is highly valued. Emily Blunt doesn’t try to copy Julie Andrews, she has her own unique way of acting. Michael is now a grown-up man, and he realizes that Mary Poppins doesn’t seem to get older at all when she comes back to the Banks’ house after many years. Being a widower with three children, like Ewan McGregor in Christopher Robin, he somehow forgot that magic does exist in this world.

His bad temper, along with the Fidelity Fiduciary Bank threatening to take away Banks’ house, seems to have an influence on his kids.

David Magee wrote the script for the movie Finding Neverland, which was nominated for Oscar, with a theme of distress and discouragement. But Mary Poppins Returns is different, it’s has a happy, cheerful vibe, an entirely bright and positive movie. The music is energetic but doesn’t have enough of originality despite being arranged by the great composers Marc Shaiman and Lin Manuel Miranda, like almost every other parts of the movie. Typically when we watch musical films, especially those of mainstream Bollywood, we often feel an urge to skip all the sing and dance parts. Those parts are merely random and not connected to the plot, making us feel like it’s not really musical. But in the sequel of Mary Poppins, the characters deal with the problems by turning them into songs and sing to express their happiness or sadness. The music is essential and deeply related to the plot, although they are not scenes transitions.

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The director of the movie, Rob Marshall, has a long-lasting connection with Disney, he manages to maintain the hand-drawn animations and live-action from the original movie, creating a vibe of nostalgia and memories. Because he wants to remind you of the good old times. P.L. Travers wrote Mary Poppins when being inspired by the remembrances from her childhood which is not pleasant but definitely has more enchanting than her adult life when she has to struggle to get by.

The main character Mary Poppins is a mixture of youth and adulthood, of the future and the past, of fantasy and reality, and of the old Hollywood magic and the modern studio glamour.

Mary Poppins Returns is released during a perfect time for the rebirth of old-fashioned musical movies, with the massive success of A Star is Born, La La Land, and Marshall’ movies Chicago, Nine, Into the Woods. Mary Poppins Returns is obviously not his best movie, but the excellence of Emily Blunt will surely earn the movie good ratings.

>>> Related post: 20 Best Movie Soundtracks Of All Time That Will Definitely Melt Your Hearts


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