So a sequel is not what I would normally have cared for. Except, in this case, they cast Emily Blunt as Mary Poppins - and she's an actress that I do care for. From her very early days' My Summer of Love (2004) to her husband's labour of love A Quiet Place (2018), she has proven herself over and over again to be an actress who does not need to be in every frame of a film to make an impact. And films made in the noughties are meant to be slightly more sophisticated than films made in the '60s. So I gave Mary Poppins Returns a go.
The story revolves around the Banks children: the ones from the first film who are now grown up and yet still in need of some love and guidance; and their next generation, very much in need of some nurturing. There is a crisis, there is a deadline, there are some evil characters in the financial services world, and some very sweet cockney-speaking poor characters on the streets that clash - and of course, the shiny happy people win that battle. In between, there are some ok-ish songs, some average choreography, some crazy 'impossible' adventures, and in an homage to the original, there is some 2D cartooning.
There are big names as part of the ensemble - Ben Whishaw, Emily Mortimer, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Colin Firth, with cameos by Dick Van Dyke and Angela Lansbury. And yet, this little magical film held no magic for me. I was not only not entertained, but was thoroughly bored. I found myself hoping that the story would pick up, that the actors would stop overacting, that the dialogue would become engaging, that the songs would become memorable - but none of that happened. This film, as it turns out, is just as boring as the original (and seems to be garnering just as much love from fans and newbies alike).
For me, it was the under-10-minutes of Meryl Streep's screen time that saved the film for just the shortest duration. SHE is about as phenomenal as she was in Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events (2004) and well, almost every film she ever stars in!
Otherwise, as far as my opinion goes, this film is best avoided.