Janus Film Review Special: Mary Poppins Returns (2018)

as reviewed by Tom.

Cinema Review: Cineworld Poole (29/12/18)


Dear Mary Poppins, I like your new story,

Half a century on from your previous glory.

Mary Poppins Returns has the unenviable task

Of recapturing the magic of the past.

The risks inherent in such a venture

Have largely paid off in your new adventure.

Your film stands on its own sprightly toes,

Forging its own path, but with definite echoes

Of the spirit and sparkle of when you first came

To save Mr Banks on Cherry Tree Lane.


Twenty-five years later, in narrative terms,

Widower Michael Banks soon learns

That his childhood home is under threat

If by Friday, he has not paid his debt.

His children are precocious and have initiative,

The film’s structure familiar, without being derivative.

The musical set pieces are wonderfully arranged,

And Ben Whishaw’s performance subtle and restrained.

The film-makers clearly have much reverence

For the original film, and match its exuberance.


Emily Blunt courageously inherits

The role of Mary, and on her own merits

Succeeds in embodying a legendary figure

With elegance, poise, humour and vigour.

The film itself casts its own charming spell,

With no hint of cynicism that I can tell.

The confidence of the film is very impressive,

Yet, Mary, you are still quite passive aggressive

In the manner of your literary guise;

But forever a hero in the children's eyes.


Lin-Manuel Miranda is hard to dislike

(Though slightly beholden to Dick Van Dyke);

A companion who turns up exactly on cue

For a song and a dance, but not much else to do.

And I doubt there is another film which proves

That a 93-year-old legend has still got his moves.

The film is, perhaps, a touch overlong;

But there’s magic and poignancy in the songs,

Which amongst the vivacious and glossy show,

Finds tenderness in ‘The Place Where Lost Things Go’.


Mary Poppins, you haven’t aged a day,

Still narcissistically perfect in every way.

Your new film is a winning companion piece

To a beloved, family classic release.

Though one hopes that Disney might come to realise

That your success does not mean we need another franchise.

Yes, there are rumours of a ‘Mary Poppins 3’,

But I would suggest that they just leave it be.

While your return shows you're on the right track,

Only time will tell if Mary Poppins comes back.

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