20th Feb2019

‘Mary Poppins Returns’ Review

by Jak-Luke Sharp

Stars: Emily Blunt, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Ben Whishaw, Emily Mortimer, Pixie Davies, Nathanael Saleh, Joel Dawson, Julie Walters, Meryl Streep, Colin Firth, Dick Van Dyke, Angela Lansbury, David Warner | Written by David Magee | Directed by Rob Marshall

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The long-awaited fifty-five years in the making and hotly anticipated sequel to the classic Disney property and much beloved P.L. Travers character Mary Poppins has finally come to fruition in the rather poetically titled Mary Poppins Returns. Directed by Rob Marshall, Mary Poppins Returns is an unconditionally delightful and charming romp from start to finish with bubbling chaotic fun firing on all cylinders with enjoyable performances and exceptional production design.

Emily Blunt is exceptional in the titular role of Mary Poppins. Utterly benevolent at every single seductively delightful turn. The level of homage to character originator Julie Andrews is both fond and dearly evident. Yet Blunt undoubtedly stands on her own two feet of mastering a character that wrestles with a firm grasp of profound sensibility and turbulent ecstatic entertaining disobedience. The charisma from Blunt oozes with a simplistic convey excellence and the screen presence she holds is assuredly magical to behold. Glowing in what is conveyed effortlessly with a delightful gleam in the eye. The characters impactful entrance for starters sets the tone of a joyous turn. It speaks volumes for just how enigmatically enchanting such a character holds in absurdly bizarre albeit delightfully engaging and endearing traits. Especially an imperative blithe musical number crafted in classic 2D animation that radiates a self-reflective level of love in its craft and refreshing conviction in its jocular lavish endearment.

The supporting players, while in the shadow of such a charming and beholding performance of Blunt, do craft engaging, endearing and fabulous roles that are layered in poignancy and affection. Ben Whishaw as adult Michael Banks for one is a true delight. The emotional range and stoic purity for a man so down on his luck yet wrapped and engulfed with the hope and prosperity of his family resonate so strongly in a warm comforting beauty. His stoic painful angst of being a widower is brought to the table with a subtle hand of beautifully restoring passion and love. Lin-Manuel Miranda as Jack does his best ironic impression of Dick Van Dyke’s Bert with a great vocal and physical performance. Opening the picture in a superbly splendid energetic turn that lifts the film with such a charming effulgent and playful manner of fun. Miranda composes a pleasing performance throughout that is filled at every turn with tongue firmly in cheek smile and charisma that devours any such negativity imaginable.

The production design and costumes are both phenomenal. The film does hinder on the spectacle of special effects of heavy CGI throughout. Especially that of the scale and scope backgrounds of 1950′s London which of course look fabulous, but the element of practical effects is thankfully blended in and interwoven wonderfully to create a cohesive and believable world that is vibrant, living, breathing before your eyes. Especially that of the finale that is crafted in a simplistic fashion but convicted in a delightfully endearing and poignant deliverance, courtesy of a beautiful cameo from Angela Lansbury, a role turned down by Julie Andrews herself.

Mary Poppins Returns, however, is a little too long in the tooth at a whopping two-hour ten-minute mark. It thankfully never becomes dull or insufferable to withstand due to the vibrancy of entertainment value but undoubtedly the leg jitters do sink in with a heavily bloated second act. The over-indulgence of characters is partly to blame with David Warner’s Admiral Boom an unnecessary addition, albeit a fun side venture in absurdity, yet the biggest travesty is unequivocally the unessential inclusion of a misaligned Meryl Streep as Cousin Topsy. It isn’t particularly a disastrous sequence but intensely nauseating to withstand. Not only in ironic contextual subject matter but ghastly over the top and somewhat out of place execution that slows the film down to a halt and struggles to find its feet again until the climatic events occur.

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