Surprising no one, Mary Poppins Returns has already raked in a heap of positive reviews in its early screenings. Back upon its announcement, this (very) belated sequel to a children's classic warranted some cause for concern. Could Emily Blunt fill the shoes of Julie Andrews? Fans posed the age old revival question: Could this version possibly live up to the original? Yet, with Lin Manuel Miranda by her side, Blunt and Mary Poppins Returns have been on the receiving end of numerous early positive reviews.
Set after the original film, and acting as a delayed sequel, Mary Poppins Returns sends the supernatural nanny to her previous charges, the Banks children –now the Banks adults presiding over a new generation of kids. Led by director Rob Marshall (Into the Woods), the sequel cast Blunt and Miranda along with a few powerful co-stars – Colin Firth, Dick Van Dyke and Meryl Streep, to name a few. Fans continued to build excitement at each set photo and casting announcement, proclaiming Blunt the perfect replacement for Andrews; and those lucky few who have already seen the instant Disney classic could not agree more.
Although a more niche group of individuals has pitched their camps on the negative side of things, claiming nothing could live up to the original, most of the initial reviews have a strong positive lean, implying Mary Poppins Returns is a great dose of holiday cheer this December. Here are a few early takes:
#MaryPoppinsReturns THE MAGIC IS BACK Emily Blunt is just perfection as Mary Poppins & every time she’s on screen I couldn’t help but have this big ole smile, the 2-D animation segment is BEAUTIFUL. The film gave me the magical feeling I felt the first time I went to Disneyland pic.twitter.com/bLnamKbPLN— Zach Pope (@popetheking) November 30, 2018
#MaryPoppinsReturns is wonderful. It anticipates and miraculously evades any cynicism and leaves you in a state of joy.— Silas Lesnick (@silaslesnick) November 30, 2018
#MaryPoppinsReturns is the warm, cozy comfort weight blanket we need right now - prescribed self-care that swaddles us in heartfelt sentiments. It respectfully balances nostalgia & modern tech, creating a joyful, eye-popping & immersive fantasy world. Emily Blunt is perfect. pic.twitter.com/WkRvfBfNeu— Courtney Ho-Ho-Howard (@Lulamaybelle) November 30, 2018
#MaryPoppinsReturns is absolutely delightful, packed with old school charm and it keeps you smiling the entire time. So much color and warmth and wonder - a film about believing in the ones you love and loving to imagine the possibilities. pic.twitter.com/6WmYErvUWD— Erik Davis (@ErikDavis) November 30, 2018
In honesty, I'd been having a rough day before I walked into screen it. Two hours later, I walked out in love with everything again. It's a happy-making movie. And it's easily going to garner a few Oscar nods. #MaryPoppinsReturns— Alisha Grauso (@AlishaGrauso) November 30, 2018
Much like the Banks family, I didn't realize how much I needed Mary Poppins back in my life until she arrived. Emily Blunt is magical. @Lin_Manuel is a joy. And wonderful to see Navckid Keyd acting again. #MaryPoppinsReturns pic.twitter.com/mO0RSXW6J7— Stephen (Dirk) Libbey (@childe_dirk) November 30, 2018
I spontaneously sobbed in MARY POPPINS RETURNS.— Kate Erbland (@katerbland) November 22, 2018
Joy and happiness are all over 'Mary Poppins Returns' and much of it is embedded within Emily Blunt's transcendent, beautiful work. You leave on a pure high. #FilmTwitter #MaryPoppinsReturns pic.twitter.com/dNYjoYnFCW— Clayton Davis (@AwardsCircuit) November 24, 2018
MARY POPPINS RETURNS is a delight in the purest & brightest sense possible. The attention to detail to recapture the magic of the first is evident in every decision made by Rob Marshall, the cast & crew. Emily Blunt is absolute perfection & the cameos are heartwarmingly joyous!— Matt Neglia (@NextBestPicture) November 24, 2018
MARY POPPINS RETURNS: Home run. Or as she might say, “practically perfect in every way.” Referent to the original while still offering something new. Visually dazzling in a way Rob Marshall hasn’t been since CHICAGO. Whishaw is great; Blunt is magic.— Kevin O'Wreath 🎄 (@kevinpokeeffe) November 22, 2018
Mary Poppins Returns is a exquisitely made film with delightful music, excellent performances (especially by Emily Blunt) & contagious optimism.— Germain Lussier (@GermainLussier) November 30, 2018
And yet...it felt SO similar to the original. New songs, better technology, same story & themes. I definitely recommend it though.
Some sequels tend to follow the original plot too closely (The Hangover sequels), while others completely reinvent the wheel barely clinging to the initial concept (Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle). Mary Poppins Returns seems to fall somewhere in the sweet spot between the two extremes. Perhaps Blunt's decision not to rewatch the original in preparation of her role may have paid off after all..
Described as "cozy", "warm", "whimsical", "magical" and "joyful", Mary Poppins Returns appears to rightly capitalize on the first film's feel-good nature as well as the nostalgia original fans bring to the theaters, yet it maintains the freedom to come across as a new movie for an entirely different generation. Though fans perhaps worried whether or not this revival could fulfill their sky-high expectations, the initial reviews are here to say that Emily Blunt may have done the impossible.
Sources: Various (see links)
- Mary Poppins Returns (2018) release date: Dec 19, 2018