John Banks is a character in the 2018 film, Mary Poppins Returns. He isthe rambunctious young son of Michael Banks who heartily embraces living with his Aunt Jane, sister, Annabel, and brother, Georgie who would love nothing more than to help his family avoid losing their house, but his financial abilities are not quite up to standards.
When Mary Poppins arrives, however, his enthusiasm and pure heart seem to meet their match.
Nathanael Saleh makes his feature film debut as John. He started performing as a three-year-old, singing songs and giving recitations to family and friends. At age five, he followed older brother, Asher, to become a member of Playbox Theatre at the Dream Factory in Warwick, England, gaining his first speaking role just a year later as Brian in O.U.T. Spells Out, a powerful recollection of the forced emigration of children from the U.K. to Australia in the 1950’s.
This was followed by roles in a number of Playbox Theatre productions: Lone Wolf in Peter Pan (2014), ensemble and understudy for Flounder in The Little Mermaid (2015), and Chip Potts in Beauty and the Beast (2016).
John is introduced during the musical number "(Underneath the) Lovely London Sky" alongside Annabel at the beginning of the film. He, Annabel, and Georgie go downstairs while the lawyers Hamilton Gooding and Templeton Frye prepare to have a conversation with Mr. Banks just as John and the other children leave to go to the park.
At the park, John, Annabel, and Georgie encounter Miss Lark and her pet dog Willoughby to which he, Annabel, and Georgie chase the runaway kite, much to the Park Keeper's warning about staying off the grass. Georgie grabs the kite during a strong wind just as John and Annabel plan to save Georgie from the wind; the wind, however, stops when Mary Poppins arrives towards John, Annabel, and Georgie, telling the three to be more careful when flying the kite just as she takes the children to the house. As Mary leads the children back home, Michael and Jane are happy to see her back. Just as the children talk to Mary in their bedroom, Mary and the children arrive at the bathroom where she sings the musical number "Can You Imagine That?" just as she transforms the ordinary bathtub into a magical bathtub. Annabel, the rest of the children, and Mary dive into the tub and end up in an underwater world sequence alongside Mary. As they swim along, Mary and the children swim across the underwater sequence as the group encounters a pod of dolphins putting the three into bubbles to reach the surface as Mary pops the bubbles so the three can stay with Mary. Just as the pod of dolphins leap across the bathtub, Mary opens the drain plug, causing her and the children to end up back at their house.
Back at home, John and the other children talk to their parents about their adventure under the sea much to Michael not having time to talk, telling him that he is looking for his document which is due by Friday at midnight. Mary tells John and Annabel to put the books back on the shelf while telling Georgie to take out the rubbish to which Georgie grabs a drawing of his family while carrying the box of rubbish so he can throw it away. At the nursery, Mary tells John to help out with Ellen in the kitchen while telling Annabel to do the laundry and telling Georgie to fix the broken kite Michael used to play with. While Mary talks to Jack outside where he tells her that he has seen the Banks family ever since, the children fight over the Royal Doulton bowl, causing the bowl to have a crack. Mary then spins the bowl, causing Mary, Jack, and the children to end up in the animated sequence where all the inhabitants are anthropomorphic animals. At the carriage, Jack, Mary, and the children fix it just as Shamus takes the children across the animated sequence.
During the musical number "The Royal Doulton Music Hall", Mary, Jack, and the rest of the children stroll across the animated sequence where all the inhabitants are anthropomorphic animals just as John, Georgie, and Annabel watch the performance just as Jack and Mary participate on stage, performing with all the anthropomorphic animals on stage, including the Penguin Waiters, during the musical number "A Cover is Not the Book". After performance, John, Annabel, and Georgie notice their plush giraffe Gillie is stolen by the Wolf. The children board on Shamus' carriage just as Shamus and Clyde agree to help the children; the children manage to save Gillie from the Wolf and his henchmen the Badger and the Weasel as the three fall off the edge of the bowl. Back at home, Mary tells that the children must be having a nightmare during the chase sequence where she sings to the children that nothing is lost forever, comforting them and telling them to sleep.
Mary, Jack, and the children leave the house as Admiral Boom and Mr. Binnacle fire their cannon to mark the signal just as Mary, Jack, and the children arrive at Topotrepolovsky's All Repairs Large and Small Fix-it Shop to fix the broken bowl where the group encounters Topsy who refuses to let the group in. Barging into Topsy's shop, Mary and the group encounter Topsy who refuses to fix the broken bowl at first because of Second Wednesday. Topsy then introduces the group in her shop about everything going topsy-turvy in her shop. Topsy, however, agrees to accept Mary's request to fix the Royal Doulton bowl just as the group leaves the shop.
Walking across London, the group encounters Jane again where Jack encourages her to ride on the bike just as Mary and the children arrive at the bank to see Mr. Wilkins who would help with the Banks family's house while the children explore the bank. The children encounter Penny who talks to Mr. Wilkins as the children wait outside. It is later found out that Mr. Wilkins is identical to the Wolf from the animated sequence who is also an obstacle in both the real world and the animated sequence just as the children tell their father about this; Michael, however, refuses to believe in them just as he tells Mary to take the children back to Cherry Tree Lane, despite that the children are telling the truth. On their way to Cherry Tree Lane, the children are discussing about Wilkins' true nature while Mary plans to take them home on a foggy night. Back at home, Michael is very upset with the children telling him that he could have lost his job to which John explains that the children are trying to help to which Michael denies, warning him that the Banks family's house is about to be repossessed.
During the musical number "Trip a Little Light Fantastic", Jack shows Mary and the children across the street encountering a group of lamplighters while Mary and the children encounter the lamplighters participating in a dance number; Jack and the lamplighters dance together in Cherry Tree Lane just as Mary and the children return home.
Seeing the Certificate of Shares printed backwards on the kite patched up by the children, Michael realizes that this is linked to the bank, having only about seven midnights till midnight to which Michael plans to return to the bank while Mary agrees to help the children turn back time with help from Jack to turn back time. As the children watch Jack and Mary working together, Mary manages to help Jack stop the clock before it strikes midnight to which afterwards, she tells Jack to relight the clock much to Wilkins' chagrin. Just as Wilkins refuses to accept the certificate all patched up together, Michael tells him that the children are telling the truth just as Mr. Dawes Jr. confronts Wilkins for his lies and deception to the Banks family, telling the lawyers to take him away.
With Wilkins taken away, the children retain their home back just as Mary happily watches the Banks family and everyone happily using balloons during the musical number "Nowhere to Go But Up" just as the Balloon Lady gives the Banks family each a balloon. Mary however, lets the balloon go just as she bids a farewell to the Banks family. As everyone has fun using balloons, the Banks family returns back to their home at Cherry Tree Lane as Mary leaves via her umbrella to mark the end of the film.