More noise than signal

Mary Poppins Returns

Republished from the show notes of my other site, Fuds on Film.

This made such an impact on me that I’d forgotten I’d seen it, for a while, so that’s not looking great for its lasting legacy in the minds of viewers. That said, I’ve never had all that much time for the original, for I am history’s worst monster.

Set, I’d guess, about thirty-odd years after the terrifying events of Mary Poppins, where reality warped, the cartoon realm and Earth prime merged, kites were flown, and cockney accents were transmuted into whatever Dick Van Dyke was attempting -this is the official explanation, you can look it up on the science website- we return to Michael Banks (Ben Whishaw), now with three children of his own, and struggling to raise them after the death of his wife.

He’s given up his art to take a clerks position at the Bank, but even with the help of sister Jane (Emily Mortimer), he’s struggling to keep up repayments on the family home. To that end, Colin Firth’s William “Weatherall” Wilkins, the outwardly pleasant but secretly evil bank manager, differentiated from modern bank managers by still keeping up a “not-evil” pretence, gives the family a week to either make payment, or find their father’s certificate of shares in the bank as collateral.

In the midst of this, Emily “420 blaze it” Blunt’s Mary Poppins, well, Returns, to look after the Banks children, young and old, teaming up with Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Jack, an apprentice to Bert in both the magic, lamp-lighting, and accent senses. I don’t think there’s much value in recapping events further than to say that Mary Poppins-esque things occur as the family try various measures to beat the clock and save their home.

I’m not really the person to come to for opinions on Mary Poppins Returns. I’m not a massive fan of anything that it’s trying to do, so all I can say is that it seems to be doing everything well enough. It’s bright, bold, colourful, in both production design and character senses, and the musical portions seem fine, although that said I’ve plainly not found any of the songs that memorable, what with my not remembering them and all.

It’s certainly open to criticisms of retreading broadly, if not exactly, the same paths that the original trod, but I suppose rebootquels are enough of a thing these days that i can’t oppose it on ideological grounds. All I can say is that given that I’m far from the target audience, it was charming and funny enough to keep me entertained for the duration, but I’ll likely never think of this again.