Pop Culture

Mary Poppins Returns Review: A Whimsical Critique of the Big Bad Adult World

Illustration: Arati Gujar


uch like its titular character, Rob Marshall’s Mary Poppins Returns – the sequel to the 1964 film, Mary Poppins – comes as a delightful surprise. At a time when multiplexes are flooded with hand-me-down refurbished tales that rarely live up to their predecessors, it’s only natural to be concerned about an homage to a universally beloved film. But have no fear: Emily Blunt (reprising Julie Andrews’ turn as Poppins) holds her own as a frolicsome iteration of the world’s most famous nanny.

Mary Poppins Returns comes with a few updates. Michael Banks (Ben Whishaw) is no longer a Victorian child; he’s a widower with three kids and a foreclosure looming over his house. The kicker? The bankers threatening him are from Fidelity Fiduciary Bank, where his stone-hearted father used to work, and where Michael himself is a part-time teller. His affectionate sister Jane (Emily Mortimer) is now a labour activist, rallying post-Depression London workers to demand equal rights – a nod to her mother’s Suffragette protests. She also drops everything to help rescue her childhood home.