“Mary Poppins Returns”: It’s Not Quite Supercalafragilistic But Still Expialidocious

Mary Poppins Returns is expialidocious enough to have one searching for the first part of that word. The supercalifragilistic first part clearly applies to the 1964 original.

This is a sequel that strives to be an appropriately volume echo of its original, always familiar yet different so that it vibrate nicely but not rudely with all the other good Poppins memories. Mary Poppins Returns is a film for the parents to like and their children to really enjoy.

Emily Blunt’s Poppins has enough of a spoonful of sugar to make it go down for the Julie Andrews faithful, yet enough of a pinch of spice to keep the P.L. Travers grumps from crying infidelity to the source books. The rest of the cast can be annoyingly sugary as are the grown up Banks kids until their tragi-comic masks match up with Poppins Returns last quarter joys, or just perfect in every way, as the three young Banks-ters and Lin Manuel Miranda’s Jack the leerie (a gas lamp street lighter), a joyous parallel to Dick van Dykes’ Bert the chimney sweep (with the worst cockney accent recorded on film which Miranda wisely never tries to over imitate).

The rest of Mary Poppins Returns is a cheerful echo. The songs are good but not memorable or discordant enough to jar with the memory of the original classics; while the expected 2D animation sequences are quaint in their echoing of other Disney animated masterpieces to make one rueful for the rise of 3D and motion capture techniques and the constant live action reviving of their classics library; and the choreography cheerfully steps in time with its ancestor— two longer dance routines are just standouts and the best caught on film in the last ten years.

Mary Poppins Returns has enough of her highly valued manners to make the film a good child and reflection on the parent. That is something no parent would surely disapprove of.

All photos and videos courtesy of Walt Disney Studios.