REVIEW: Mary Poppins Returns

It’s a sequel 54 years in the making, but Disney’s Mary Poppins Returns couldn’t have come at a more perfect time. After a first viewing, this life-long Mary Poppins fan left the theater with a full and satisfied heart. If you’ve been through a lot this year like I have, this is the escape you need. It’s a wonderful sequel, beautiful tribute to its predecessor, and shouldn’t be missed.

The movie takes place in 1935 (25 years after the first film). The Depression era has hit and a lot of folks are struggling. Michael took out a loan while his wife Kate was alive but failed to keep up with payment after she passed away. The bank sends associates Frye and Gooding over to let them know that they will take their house away if he can’t make payment in full on time. Jane and Michael remember that their father left them shares so they decide to use that but can’t find the certificate as proof right away. They ultimately have until Friday at midnight to prove to the bank that they can make payment. But plans change a bit when Mary Poppins comes back to help them.

One of the best things about this movie is how strong the family and community dynamic is. They all look after each other. It’s a brand new story but it’s always fun seeing what our favorite band of characters have been up to since we last saw them. Even though we don’t know exactly what happened to George and Winnifred Banks, we don’t need to. The new characters compliment the old ones. They’re not random. In true Rob Marshall fashion, it’s crafted as a movie musical but don’t let that steer you away if you’re aren’t a fan of those. There’s a reason why it’s getting a lot of award recognition right now. It really is something you have to experience for yourself.

From the moment the movie starts, we’re immediately transported to 1930s London and you’re whisked away on an adventure that only a Mary Poppins movie can give you for a couple of hours. Lin-Manuel Miranda’s “(Underneath the) Lovely London Sky” and Marc Shaiman’s “Overture” set the stage. It’s hard to follow Richard and Bob Sherman but stage legends Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman are worthy successors. The songs help pace the movie. If you’re a fan of the original, pay close attention to the under score. I don’t want to spoil too much but Richard served as a consultant on the film. That’s all I’m going to say. Also, watch out for the reprises. Oof. If you want to remain spoiler free until you watch the movie, AVOID THE SOUNDTRACK! You have been warned.

When I first found out that there was going to be another Mary Poppins movie, I’ll admit that I was nervous. But after watching the sequel, I wasn’t so worried any more. They check off everything on the list. They even thank the trustees of the Travers Estate in the credits! Which reminds me, there isn’t a post-credit scene or anything but that’s okay. You don’t always need one. It’s one thing to watch a Mary Poppins movie as a child but another as an adult. Let yourself be a child again when you watch this movie and don’t forget about the magic this time. You’ve earned it. Welcome back to Cherry Tree Lane!

Disney’s Mary Poppins Returns opens in theaters on December 19th.