"To the film's credit Emily Blunt does a good job as the titular character, the animated sequence is well done and reminiscent of the original film"
Fifty four years after Walt Disney's original movie Mary Poppins we now have a sequel in Mary Poppins Returns, with Emily Blunt playing the titular character. The original set in 1910, with the sequel being set in the 1930's. The Banks children (characters from the original film) Jane and Michael have now become adults, with Michael still living in the family home on Cherry Tree Lane, but now with three children of his own John, Annabel and Georgie together with a housekeeper.
Mary Poppins Returns begins with Ben Whishaw (Michael Banks) trying to raise his three children, Anabel, John and Georgie (Pixie Davies, Nathanael Saleh and Joel Dawson respectively) with the help of his housekeeper Ellen (Julie Walters) during a time of financial problems compounded by his emotional grief over the loss of his wife, Kate years earlier. When possible, he's also helped by his sister Jane (Emily Mortimer) who is now working as a Labour Activist and lives in a separate residence.
One particular day, Lawyers from the Fidelity Fiduciary Bank under the direction of Wilkins (Colin Firth), arrive at the Banks' house and post a repossession notice on the front door and proceed to inform Michael Banks that the house will be repossessed in five days unless payment is made in full clearing an outstanding loan.
Feeling distraught, Michael and his sister Jane remember that their late father left them his shares in the Fidelity Fiduciary Bank which they could sell to pay off the debt. They begin to searching for the certificate but to no avail. Whilst searching for the share certificate Michael throws out some old 'junk' including the kite he used to fly with his father. A gust of wind takes the kite into the air and towards the park. There Georgie, one of the Banks' children sees and grabs a hold of the kite only to be dragged away by the strong wind, he is rescued by Jack, a local lamplighter (a former apprentice of Bert from the original film) played by Lin-Manuel Miranda. As the pair struggle to fly the kite, the sky partly clears and descending from the clouds is Emily Blunt's magical nanny Mary Poppins...
To the film's credit Emily Blunt does a good job as the titular character in Mary Poppins Returns. Meryl Streep gives a scene stealing performance as Mary Poppins' Eastern European cousin, Topsy. The animated sequence is well done and reminiscent of the original film. However overall the film lacks the heart and soul of the original, with an overstretched plot, unmemorable songs leaving the viewer with the feeling that Mary Poppins Returns is simply trying to cynically cash in on the nostalgic love of the original film. Only because of the positive points outlined above I'd give Mary Poppins Returns three stars.