The Mary Poppins from 50 years ago is such a landmark achievement that it would always be impractical to consider any follow-up perfect. Mary Poppins Returns recognizes that and decides to tell a similar, sweet tale with visual wonder, smart new songs, and well-rounded performances.
Performances: Everyone can SING! Lin-Manuel Miranda is the prologue and epilogue, a guide-yeah, okay, I'll be honest, I love Hamilton so there is no possible scenario where I can appear unbiased-a guide that takes us on a wonderous journey and reflects the audience's enthusiasm. The Banks are all fantastic, every supporting character is perfectly cast, but not of them as perfect as the casting of Emily Blunt as the titular character. Nobody could live up to Julie Andrews' performance quite like her. She is the essence of Mary Poppins in every way, with a Spoonful of sass added on for good measure.
Writing/Direction: the story is awfully similar to the first Mary Poppins in that it hits the same basic beats as its predecessor. However, there are some additions that make it unique; a different ending, a few other characters, and some magical scenarios. Also, the characters have some added character arcs that make everything better. The direction is magical. Rob Marshall truly is a fantastic director of musicals, between the way he constructs a number to the way he moves a scene.
Just about everything else was great. The CGI, the soundtrack, and (especially) the score add up to a truly magical experience.
This sequel is almost Supercalifragalisticexpealidocious, from the atmosphere of the world created to the sweet story to the on-point performances. (9/10)
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