It couldn't have been easy filling Julie Andrews' shoes, especially the pair that toe-tapped through 1964's Mary Poppins. Emily Blunt makes it look easy anyway, according to critics, who've given Rob Marshall's Mary Poppins Returns a 77% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Lin-Manuel Miranda also stars in the long-awaited sequel set 25 years after the original, which finds the Banks children all grown up but more in need of Poppins' guidance than ever. Four takes:
- Jocelyn Noveck found the film "thoroughly delightful," with much credit to the actors. Miranda "injects a warm and sunny vibe into gray Depression-era London," and Blunt is "at the top of her game." Letting her "easy warmth and charm shine through," she's "practically perfect in every way as the heir to Julie Andrews," she writes at the AP.
- Linda Holmes agrees Blunt is "a wonder," playing Mary as "an earthy alto rather than the trilling soprano she was in 1964." The film is more like "a hybrid between a sequel and a remake," she adds at NPR. Still, the "threadbare" plot and an appearance by Meryl Streep may disappoint.
- Streep's appearance "doesn’t have anything to do with anything," Joe Morgenstern writes at the Wall Street Journal. But as he wishes the movie was never made, he found much more to dislike. Blunt's Poppins "is prim, or vaguely disdainful; awfully full of herself; groundbound, rather than buoyant" in a film that's "unnecessary, unmagical and often unfunny," he writes. "What in the imperfect world were they thinking?"
- Given her affinity for the original, Stephanie Zacharek expected to hate Mary Poppins Returns, too. Instead, she left the theater "feeling that a little something had been restored to me," she writes at Time. Blunt and Miranda "play off one another like old friends—every shuffle and twirl is a gesture of mutual admiration"—though the songs aren't that great.
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