The new movie “Mary Poppins Returns” is a prime example of the popular expression, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” This movie takes place 25 years after Mary Poppins first appeared in the Banks’ life in the same location of London, England. The childhood nanny originally helped Michael and Jane Banks as they longed for their father’s affection, started to understand morality, and tried to open their minds’ to creativity in the first movie, “Mary Poppins.” In this new installment Mary Poppins comes back to visit the Banks’ family as Michael and his three children, George, John, and Annabel must deal with their mother’s death and discover a way to pay for a bank loan or else lose their house. In order to keep the children positive, Mary Poppins, and friend, Jack, use an insipid music soundtrack, tiresome dance sequences, and haphazardly selected experiences to make the children’s imagination run wild. Throughout her time in the Banks’ household Poppins teaches the family unimaginative life lessons common to many Disney movies before it.
“Mary Poppins” was created after the first four books by Pamela Lyndon Travers. The first movie starred Julie Andrews as Mary Poppins and Dick Van Dyke as her friend, Bert. “Mary Poppins Returns” is the sequel directed by Rob Marshall and stars Emily Blunt as Mary Poppins and Lin-Manuel Miranda as Jack who replaces the role of Bert entirely. Much like all sequels, “Mary Poppins Returns” could not compare to the original. The sequel mimics the original in some ways such as the extended musical breaks and references to the original like the flying kite used in the end of the first movie. The audience can also appreciate the explanations of where some of the beloved characters of the original are now. Other than that there is not much to love about the new Mary Poppins movie.
“Mary Poppins Returns” misses the comedic relief the audience was so fond of in the original movie. The silliness of the songs such as,“Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” and “Chim Chim Cheree” bring a light-heartedness to the table the sequel just cannot. The songs in the sequel include, “Can You Imagine That?” and “The Place Where Lost Things Go.” While neither song is memorable the latter is just depressing and tries to turn a cheerful musical into a melancholic drama.The closest the new movie gets to reaching the comedic songs in the initial one is “Turning Turtle” but this song still does not reach the high standard of the classic.
The characters in the first film were also much funnier than the remake. No one can forget the childish, yet hilarious personality of Dick Van Dyke’s representation of Bert. Jack’s character in the sequel, who seems to take Bert’s place, does not give the audience the genuine amusement of his counterpart. Lin-Manuel Miranda, who plays Jack in the sequel, is most commonly known for his role as Alexander Hamilton in the musical he composed “Hamilton.” However, in “Hamilton” his character did not need to be playful and goofy which is supposed to be his role in this movie. With past roles like this no wonder his work in “Mary Poppins Returns” is less than subpar.
The second movie also has an entire new outlook on Mary Poppins’ personality. The new movie makes Mary Poppins seem stoic, serious, and controlling as well as act way more mysterious. She forces the kids not to tell Michael Banks about the journeys she sends them on like the trip through the bathtub into the ocean. She pretends that the children are just thinking of these adventures by themselves and denies that anything ever happened if they discuss any of their grand explorations. The original Poppins would not explain the journeys she went on with the children but she did not do it as bluntly nor as often as the Mary Poppins in the sequel. The actress who plays Mary Poppins, Emily Blunt, has done a plethora of movies in the past from the thriller, “A Quiet Place” to another Disney musical, “Into the Woods.” Nonetheless, with all her experience she was unable to balance the strict yet sympathetic nature of Mary Poppins.This new Mary Poppins falls very short of lovable as she seems like Katie Nanna from the original movie not the sweet, caring Mary Poppins everyone knows and loves.
Furthermore, the sequel is made infuriatingly worse by the different conflicts crammed into it. The main issues are Michael’s wife’s death and trying to pay off the loan to keep the family house. However, throughout the movie smaller conflicts arise making the movie confusing and just overwhelming. When the children, Mary Poppins, and Jack all go into a world with two-dimensional animations of talking animals George finds a group of animals that are trying to steal his belongings. Soon after, these animals capture him in their cart and when Annabel and John realize what happened they try to get George back. Watching this scene I cannot help but think of the “Frozen” moment where Anna and Kristoff were chased by wolves. The scene is similar down to the carriage and near-death experience jumping over a cliff. The added conflict was just out of place and had no purpose in the overall plot. Also, not only did the Banks’ family have to find the money to pay off their loan they had an evil banker, Colin Firth’s character William Weatherall Wilkins, trying to make sure Michael cannot find the certificate and turn it in on time. All these tiny conflicts interwoven in the movie just clash and make the movie less and less relatable to the audience. If the Banks’ was just a family who lost a loved one and was under financial struggles they would be understood by many viewers. However these added conflicts make the movie seem way more unrealistic and overall makes the audience disconnect to the characters.
The new movie, “Mary Poppins Returns” is highly disappointing to anyone that appreciates the legendary original. The comedic undertone interlaced in every scene in the classic is missed in the sequel. Also, the kind caretaker approach of Mary Poppins is replaced into a more uptight, stuffy knockoff who does not receive the love from viewers as the Julie Andrews version. The plethora of conflicts involved in this movie are overpowering and completely unrealistic to the ordinary struggles families face in real life. This movie somehow was able to ruin a beloved film that stood its place in Disney movie classics for more than half a century in just a two-hour time span. This new dawn of Disney movie reboots must end before all the movies viewers were fond of as children will be ruined by their second film. By trying to improve what already is a hit Disney is destroying the strong fan base it once had.