Mary Poppins Returns (2018) Movie Review

By Maha Dania Qazi
January 6, 2019
3 minutes


 “Everything is possible, even the impossible.” – Mary Poppins

You don’t need to remember the first movie or be familiar with it to enjoy this festive extravaganza with some new characters. I was inspired to watch “Mary Poppins Returns” because it’s a movie that conjures magical moments and meaningful messages for kids and adults alike. The character of Mary Poppins is based on P.L. Travers story about an English nanny who magically appears in times of crisis to look after the Banks children.

Whimsical and Powerful Story

Even in my forties, I choose to believe in the power of magic, seemingly impossible outcomes and happy encounters. To me this is what the story of Mary Poppins is about. The combination of whimsy and meaningful moments is what captivates, endears and strengthens one’s belief in goodness and life.

 “We’re on the brink of an adventure. Don’t spoil it by asking too many questions.” Mary Poppins

“How on earth does she do that?” – Annabel

“One thing you should know about Mary Poppins, she never explains anything”. – Jack

Great Cast of Characters

While I will always associate the eponymous Mary Poppins (1964) with Julie Andrews, the challenge of filling her pointy boots has ably been worn by the lovely Emily Blunt (2018). She intelligently did not try to emulate the original character so as not to invite comparisons. In this sequel, the kids she looked after have grown up, and she returns to look after Michael’s three children.

I’ve come to look after the Banks children. – Mary Poppins
Us? – Michael Banks
Yes, you too – Mary Poppins

Mary Poppins in this sequel shows she can be sweet yet sassy. She can be no nonsense yet endearing. Emily Blunt laudably makes the character her own. There’s a tenderness to her that comes through when she turns her face from the children or singing to them.

The movie is ably represented by a stellar cast that include the three children, who are shown as naughty yet aware of the hardships of life.

We don’t need a nanny. Our mother taught us to take care of ourselves. – Anabel
You almost lost George didn’t you? – Mary Poppins

Worth Revisiting 17 Cherry Tree Lane, London

“A cover is not the book
Open it up and take a look
Under the cover you’ll discover
The king may be a crook”

It wouldn’t do justice to compare both movies because this is a sequel, like a following chapter to the first with it’s own story. Rob Marshall, the director figured out that the best way to get adults and kids interested is to mix a yearning for childhood nostalgia via vintage props, settings dance sequences side by side with state of the art CGI animation. This is what Disney does marvelously. There is one scene where little George is taken hostage by animated characters in a carriage and there’s a scary wild chase that ensues.

The “spit spot” costumes, magical props, charming lamp posts, with mighty Big Ben in the background add mystery and charm to everything. Who doesn’t want to believe that at any given moment something better is going to happen, and it does!

 When Less Is More

 Disney’s “Mary Poppins Returns” has an American feel to it, as in the form of cousin Topsy.  The small part was wasted on a big talent like Meryl Streep. The magical balloon lady at the end of the movie played by Angela Lansbury has this American accent that belies that she is actually English. In these moments, the happy bubble I was ensconced in popped and I was transported back to the dominance of America even now in our fantasies. Both these fine actresses didn’t really add to the movie given an already stellar cast. Nevertheless, Lansbury utters one of the most memorable lines:

“You’ve Forgotten what it’s like to be a child” – Balloon Lady

I’m not mad about musicals. As a child, they appealed to me a lot more. Still, I can appreciate their charm. Having said that, Jack the lamp lighter ( Lin-Manuel Miranda) really knows his moves and one can imagine how good he’d be on a stage.

Verdict – Go Watch!

This is a paisa vasool movie. Don’t’ think twice and watch it for yourself.  Bet you won’t be disappointed.  I rate it 4 out of 5 stars.

You will LOVE to watch these 3 movies with your teenage daughters







About Maha Dania Qazi

Maha holds a Masters Degree in International Security from Georgetown University USA as well as a Teaching Certificate in Elementary Education from New Jersey. She is currently working in the field of education. She dreams of opening a school of her own one day. Maha loves to write, read, travel, and do sports and yoga. She believes in becoming the best version of herself. She has travelled widely, and has engaged in voluntary and non-voluntary work on multiple occasions: Developments in Literacy in Washington D.C and SOS, Islamabad Pakistan, to name a few. Maha loves watching a good Bollywood film occasionally and lives by the motto: Count each day as a blessing and practice more gratitude.

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