In just a couple of weeks, one of Disney's most iconic movie characters is returning to the big screen, as Emily Blunt takes over for Julie Andrews in Mary Poppins Returns.
While the movie certainly looks full of color and energy, many fans still have one question on their minds: Will it be as good as the original Mary Poppins?
Well, the first potential answer to that question came on Wednesday as the review embargo for the film was lifted, and critics began posting their thoughts online. Through the first wave of professional reviews, it's safe to say that folks are pretty lukewarm on the Mary Poppins sequel.
Almost all of the critics are praising the work done by Blunt in the titular role, and no one is doubting that the movie is a visual spectacle. However, these reviews almost unanimously suggest that, rather than a sequel, Mary Poppins Returns is almost a shot-for-shot rehash of the first film. It might be a fun time, but it doesn't seem like the new movie does anything that Disney's original hasn't done already.
Check out some of the top reviews for Mary Poppins Returns below! (You can watch ComicBook.com's review in the video)
Variety's Owen Gleiberman says that, while nostalgia can sometimes be a bad thing in Hollywood, Disney handles it beautifully in Mary Poppins Returns.
"Yet nostalgia can also be a magical thing. It’s the great time machine of human emotion, with the power to turn the past into the present, the present into the past, and time itself into something timeless. Mary Poppins Returns, a sequel set 30 years after the first film, isn’t the immortal children’s movie that the singular, luminous, slightly screw-loose Disney original was. Yet it’s a rapturous piece of nostalgia — a film that devotes itself, in every madly obsessive frame, to making you feel happy in the guileless way a movie still could back in 1964."
You can read Variety's full review here.
IndieWire's review agrees that the nostalgia in Mary Poppins Returns is at an all-time high, and that Emily Blunt delivers a dazzling performance. However, David Ehrlich suggests that the film lacks imagination.
"Such is the stubborn and elusive charm of Rob Marshall’s sleepy rehash, a feature-length anachronism that feels like a meandering stroll compared to the manic sprints of others family movies these days. A generation of kids raised on Minions is about to be bored into submission, and they’ll be all the better for it. And yet, however refreshing the plotlessness and relative purity of Mary Poppins Returns might be, there’s a fine line between 'nostalgic' and 'out of touch' — between revisiting the past and living in denial of the present."
You can read IndieWire's full review here.
Collider's Matt Goldberg has similar views on the film, saying that it's exciting when looked at on its own, but doesn't exactly hold up against the original.
"Mary Poppins Returns is about as close as you can get to a remake of Mary Poppins without just calling it a remake. Technically the story takes place 25 years after the original, but Rob Marshall’s movie is more about replacement rather than moving anything forward. There’s an extended animation sequence, but it uses newer animation techniques. Instead of visiting Mary Poppins’ uncle, they visit her cousin. Instead of a dance sequence with chimneysweeps, it’s a dance sequence with lamplighters. If you haven’t seen the original Mary Poppins, then Mary Poppins Returns will probably seem vibrant and new. But when placed next to the classic, it looks more like a pale imitation."
You can read Collider's full review here.
IGN's Laura Prudom says that, while Mary Poppins Returns isn't quite as good as the original, it's still got plenty of charm on its own.
"When a movie is practically perfect in every way, the prospect of any sequel — let alone one produced more than 50 years after the original — seems like a recipe for disaster. Luckily, with a dash of mischief, a dollop of whimsy, and, yes, a hearty spoonful of sugar, Mary Poppins Returns manages to feel less like a cynical cash-grab and more like a visit from an old friend — even if the reality of her reappearance doesn’t quite live up to your fuzzy memories of the good ol’ days."
You can read IGN's full review here.
Pajiba's Kristy Puchko praises the work of the actors in Mary Poppins Returns, but admits that the film feels too much like a remake, rather than a sequel.
"Technically, Mary Poppins Returns is a sequel. The new live-action Disney musical comes 54 years after the Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke fronted original, offering a new chapter in the tale of its eponymous nanny. However, it sure feels like a remake, where all the best bits of the original are swapped out for shockingly similar substitutes."
You can read Pajiba's full review here.