Mary Poppins Returns: My take on the movie



The screener for Mary Poppins Returns arrived in the mail the other day but instead of watching it right that very minute I waited to watch it with my sister. Her grandson, a special needs boy of 15 had just had an operation, we thought he might like it too. As it turned out he slept through most of the movie, even the parts where Lin Manuel Miranda leads a group of his fellow lamplighters through the streets of London, over bridges and through the air, in an exciting display of BMX skills



While I thought Miranda was somewhat miscast-thinking he would be to Mary Poppins what Dick Van Dyke’s chimney sweep was to Julie Andrew’s Mary in the original-my sister Nancy thought he was charming, charismatic and practically perfect in every way. As it turns out there’s another romantic interest in the film for our lamplighter as you’ll see. Van Dyke  does play a completely different role in this film; one of the high points of the movie is watching the old codger dancing on his desk.

The heart of the story belongs as always to Mary of course, and Emily Blunt brought her considerable skill set to the task. She sings beautifully-as she did in Into The Woods-but there was no Spoonful of Sugar to capture this old fan’s heart. In fact the most memorable musical number might belong to scene stealing Meryl Streep as some sort of fix-it marvel in a shop that turns upside down. 

While my sister and I both enjoyed the film, I can’t pretend I’m not a teeny bit disappointed. There was, despite everyone’s best efforts, a soup├žon of magic mysteriously missing. Not that there weren’t moments where I didn’t ooh and aah and get a tad misty eyed but I can’t imagine the movie compelling little girls to beg their mommies and daddies to go out and buy them a Mary Poppins doll-yes Virginia, little girls do still play with dolls. And when it comes to singing the songs, I really don’t have one roaming around my head, an ear worm begging to be sung. For a musical, that can’t exactly be Supercalifragilisticexpialadocious.