Can Mary Poppins Returns live up to the beloved charm of the 1964 original? Stylist investigates
Fifty-four years after the original film was released, Mary Poppins has never lost her place in our hearts. But with this week’s arrival of Mary Poppins Returns, does the sequel live up to expectations? Stylist saw a special preview to answer your burning questions…
Does it match up to the original?
Any fear about this sequel ruining a childhood classic will be soothed in minutes. Set in the Thirties, the opening number follows Jack the lamplighter (Lin-Manuel Miranda) cycling through London putting out the street lamps as the sun rises. By the time he reaches 17 Cherry Tree Lane you’ll be smiling from ear to ear. Right from the start it balances nostalgia with substance, and as Mary says, “Well begun is half done.”
Why is Mary back with the Banks family?
Siblings Jane and Michael are the adults now, but their old nanny is back in their lives – and mysteriously doesn’t look any older. This time Mary Poppins (Emily Blunt – who nails Mary’s signature sharp looks and one-liners) is taking care of Michael’s three children, a year after their mother’s passing. If Mary’s first stay was to save old Mr Banks, this visit really is for the children, as she teaches them to be just that: children.
Are any of the 1964 cast reprising their roles?
Not quite. Dick Van Dyke makes an appearance as the son of bank director Mr Dawes, who he played in the first film, but no one else returns. Film veterans are out in force, however, with cameos from Meryl Streep and Angela Lansbury. Colin Firth plays the bank president William Weatherall Wilkins and a scene-stealing Julie Walters is the now old and confused maid, Ellen.
Why should I watch it?
The film captures the spirit of the original without re-hashing it. Among the familiar-yet-different songs and adventures, there are lessons about loss, mental health and toxic masculinity. Mary shows the family how to find colour when life is grey. With nods to all the moments and characters we hold dear, Mary Poppins Returns will remind you how it feels to be a child again.
Mary Poppins Returns is in cinemas on 21 December.