Talk about a film that sucked out all the fun and imagination of the original and made it as dull as listening to actual bank discussions. “Mary Poppins Returns” is the “Star Wars: The Phantom Menace” of the next generation, taking something that should be simple and universal yet making it so boring and tedious to the point of betrayal. Like all of the recent Disney remakes, the film simply tries to cash in on the nostalgia and zeitgeist of its original without ever trying to add anything new or worthwhile, simply a watered-down copy.
But what makes this one so bad is the insistence to move away from the joy and wonder of “Mary Poppins” by hardly ever making Emily Blunt smile or look like she’s enjoying herself. She always looks pissed off and never stops being snarky. To make matters even more contrived, the filmmakers feel the need to include a cliché villain. If there was ever a film that never needed a villain, it was Mary Poppins. So rather than focusing on the bliss of childhood, they spend the entire third act fighting something that was out of style by the mid-90s in the stupidest way possible.
“Mary Poppins Returns” is an abomination. Disney only sees this classic character as dollar signs, not what she represents. It’s like Disney forgot they made “Saving Mr. Banks” only a few years ago and the message of that film. I feel like Walt Disney would be ashamed of this picture, for failing to capture the whimsy that only Mary Poppins can truly bring.
Final Grade: F