Although I vaguely remember enjoying ‘Mary Poppins’ and absolutely loving ‘Saving Mr Banks’, which was a film that explained the circumstances surrounding the original film’s creation; I must admit I was not very excited for the most recent addition. Nevertheless, with Emily Blunt at the helm I knew that I would have at least her performance as a saving grace if it all went badly; as she hasn’t failed to disappoint in any of her recent films, including: ‘Sicario’, ‘A Quiet Place’ and ‘Edge of Tomorrow’ (one of which I didn’t even like.) Therefore, I went in with low expectations hoping I would at least get some enjoyment from it.
What is it about?
Mary Poppins is back and this time her help is required by: the grown up Michael and Jane Banks, as well as Michael’s children (Georgie, Anabel and John.) As well as grieving the loss of Michael’s wife, they have the looming threat of losing their house to fear. Therefore Mary Poppins’ joyous world of imagination filled with: adventure, song and laughter; becomes the perfect escape for all the family in their time of most desperate need.
What did I think?
As expected Emily Blunt shines as Mary Poppins with an engaging, funny and generally delightful performance as the central protagonist. The only thing I take issue with is her accent, as at times it seemed to waver with discontinuity in the levels of how posh it was. However, this is a very minor criticism considering Mary Poppins is an overtly posh character, who may constantly attempt to add to the ostentatious flair in her voice. As well as Mary Poppins herself, I thought that Colin Firth, who plays Wilkins (the head of the bank,) was a very cruel and spiteful antagonist, who really shocked me early on with his malevolence. However, the very extent to which he extended his duplicity meant he was almost archetypal of someone concealing a great evil; which at times seemed too extreme, making him funny- which I don’t suppose was the intention. Beside these two I thought the other characters were nice; but lacked anything that defined them as great in my memory. Although they may have showed character development, it seemed so forced that it could have been predicted from our first interaction with them, especially with Michael (played by Ben Wishaw.) However, despite not loving these other characters, the only one I actively disliked was Jack the Lamp-lighter (Lin-Manuel Miranda.) His connection to the other characters seemed particularly trivial and the way he impeded with unwarranted outpours of joy and affection made me cringe and I didn’t like it. Although he had his good moments, on the whole he just frustrated me.
Where this film fell short was the plot. With such a long running time you would imagine that some complexity could be added to the narrative; but instead the general trajectory of the film could all have been predicted once the very first plot twist was unveiled (which was very early on.) Although I admit that this was very unexpected and shocking, it only happened once and left me wanting for the rest of the film. Aside from this, although generally scenes were fun and enjoyable, because they were so long I soon became bored and frequently found myself looking at my watch to see when it would end. This lack of engagement was maintained right up until the penultimate shot. However, the final shot that the film ends with is a fantastic piece of cinematography that left me feeling somewhat fulfilled by my cinema experience when I left the screening.
My Rating- 5/10
This film is okay. There are some stand out performances and scenes that make it enjoyable in points; but I was just too bored for the majority of the film to say I liked it. I’m sure it will be greatly enjoyed by many adults and kids alike; however, unfortunately it just wasn’t for me. I wouldn’t actively discourage you from seeing this in cinema; nevertheless, I would suggest you don’t get your hopes up for something as good as the original. If you have seen the film do let me know what you thought in the comments.