Mary Poppins Returns reminded me what it’s like to imagine again


Throughout my early childhood, I had Mary Poppins on heavy rotation. I can clearly recall the rainy afternoons I spent entranced in the magical adventures of Mary Poppins and the Banks children. Even now, hearing the unforgettable musical numbers brings back a flood of memories. So, when the long-awaited sequel was announced, I was equally ecstatic and terrified.

But as the bustling streets of London and the ever familiar 17 Cherry Tree Lane appeared on the screen, a smile crept across my face and didn’t fade away until long after the movie had ended.

Set twenty years after the original, Mary Poppins Returns takes place once Jane and Michael Banks (Emily Mortimer and Ben Whishaw) are adults. Michael and his three children are still grieving the fairly recent passing of his wife when they receive notice that their family home will be repossessed by the bank if they cannot pay back the loan by the end of the week. As Jane and Michael begin desperate attempts to keep their home, Mary Poppins (Emily Blunt) makes an unexpected reappearance, claiming she is there to take care of the three Banks children: Anabel (Pixie Davies), John (Nathanael Saleh), and Georgie (Joel Dawson). With the assistance of the lamplighter Jack (Lin Manuel Miranda), Mary Poppins works her magic once again.

Mary Poppins Returns perfectly mingled nostalgic references with new storylines to create a movie that not only took me on a trip down memory lane, but left me intrigued at what would happen next. The plot was parallel to the original Mary Poppins, but each individual scene was unique and fascinating. The setting was usually bright and colorful to match the playful tone of the movie, but it reduced itself to duller tones when the mood called for it.

The spectacular musical numbers only added to the already amazing movie. The songs themselves were catchy and upbeat, reminiscent of the memorable soundtrack of the first movie, but they were also entertaining to watch. My favorite song, “Trip a Little Light Fantastic,” was a seven-minute long dance number, with an army of extras. It held my attention the entire time with its peppy beat and captivating choreography. Other songs, such as “Can you Imagine That” and “A Cover is Not the Book,” were whimsical and exciting, causing memories of watching the movie as a kid to resurface.

The talented acting enhanced the quality of the movie. Mary Poppins Returns had a notable cast, including actors I already loved and actors I was seeing for the first time. Lin Manuel Miranda and Meryl Streep, both personal favorites of mine, fit their roles just as well as I had hoped, causing my love for them to only increase. The three child actors did incredibly well for their age, and none of their acting seemed forced, a flaw I’ve often noticed in actors much older than them.

But the real highlight of the movie was Emily Blunt as Mary Poppins. Recasting the character with someone like Julie Andrews was an impossible task, as no one could ever compare to her flawless portrayal. But Blunt came as close as she could, managing to capture the essence of Mary Poppins with her every move. I was completely blown away by her mastery of the role. She had the same firmness mixed with elegance that Andrews’s version had. I found myself completely forgetting that I was even watching a movie and simply allowing myself to be transported into the story.

The compelling sequel encapsulated the pure joy and magic of its predecessor. Very much intended for the people who grew up watching Mary Poppins, it consistently reminded the audience to never forget, and it refuted any claims that the events of the first movie were simply a child’s imagination.

Mary Poppins Returns was impossible to not fall in love with. It was a fantastical two hours and twelve minutes that I would gladly live through again. It was nostalgic yet refreshing and updated the timeless classic that we all know and love so well. As I watched Mary Poppins float off into the blue sky once more, I was left with a deep feeling of contentment and love for the iconic character.