Mary Poppins Returns is a 2018 live-action fantasy musical film directed by Rob Marshall with a screenplay written by David Magee and John DeLuca. Based on the book series Mary Poppins by P. L. Travers, the film is a sequel to the 1964 film of the same name. Set in 1930s London, twenty-four years after the events of the original film, the film sees Mary Poppins, the former nanny of Jane and Michael Banks, returning one year after a family tragedy.
Walt Disney Pictures announced the film in September 2015 and Marshall was hired later that month. Principal photography lasted from February to July 2017, and took place at Shepperton Studios in Surrey, England. Mary Poppins Returns held its world premiere at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles on November 29, 2018 and the film was released on December 19, 2018.
In 1935 London, at the height of the Great Depression, a grown-up Michael Banks is still living in his parents' home as a widower with his children John, Annabel, and Georgie plus housekeeper Ellen. Michael's sister Jane is there as well, trying to help her brother handle things around the house. Two lawyers from Fidelity Fiduciary Bank, Hamilton Gooding and Templeton Frye, show up to leave a notice of repossession on the front door. They explain that because Michael has failed to pay back a loan, his house is to be taken by the bank unless he pays it back by Friday at midnight. Michael remembers that his father kept a certificate of ownership to some shares in the bank, and he goes upstairs to find them, but he starts to worry about handling things without his wife Kate around. Jane joins him upstairs to help look for the certificate, but they instead find an old kite from their childhood, which Michael dismisses as garbage.
The children go off to the shop, when the kite blows away and catches Georgie's eye. He runs after the kite but is pulled away by the wind, and John and Annabel run after him. Georgie is caught by Jack, who helps him fly the kite properly, but gets pulled in by the wind. The clouds then separate, and to their surprise, down comes Mary Poppins floating with the kite. She addresses the children by their names and greets Jack, knowing him as an apprentice of Bert the chimney sweep. Mary then guides the children back home.
Upon returning to the Banks home, Michael and Jane are stunned to see Mary having come back after all these years and having not aged a single day. She tells them she has returned to look after the Banks children and heads up to her room to settle down. Michael and Jane remember Mary but aren't sure if all the magic they witnessed was real.
Mary has the children take a bath, who are covered in filth from running around through the park. She adds a magical soap to the water and has the children jump in to be taken to an underwater world, leaving the children in awe.
Michael and Jane go to the bank to speak to its president, William Weatherall Wilkins to discuss the matter of George Banks's shares that could help save the house. Wilkins looks through his documents but claims to find nothing relating to the Banks family. He assures Michael and Jane that he will continue to look, but after they leave, he tears out the page with the Banks share certificate and throws the document in the fireplace.
That night, as Mary is talking to Jack, the children discuss selling their mother's China bowl to save their house. The three have an argument over it, which leads to them dropping and cracking it. Mary picks it up and shows the children that the man drawn on the bowl is talking to them because they damaged his carriage. Mary spins the bowl and transports herself, Jack, and the children into the animated world of the bowl. They meet the coachman Shamus who is a dog, and his horse Clyde. After fixing the carriage, Mary, Jack, and the children join Shamus on a carriage ride as they head to the Royal Doulton Music Hall.
The group arrives at the music hall where Mary and Jack put on a song performance with the other animal characters. Georgie gets distracted by something outside, and he sees a wolf, a badger, and a fox taking the family's possessions away. They kidnap Georgie, prompting John and Annabel to go save him. The kids chase the villains through the bowl until they reach the edge. The wolf cracks the bowl and causes the children to fly over the edge of the bowl.
Georgie wakes up as he was supposedly having a nightmare. Mary comforts him and his siblings as they miss their mother, assuring them that she lives on in their hearts.
The next day, Mary and Jack take the children to get the bowl fixed at a shop owned by Mary's eccentric cousin Topsy. Mary forgot that they arrived on a second Wednesday, which means things go literally upside down for Topsy. With Mary's help, Topsy and the children are able to see things from a new perspective. Topsy agrees to fix the bowl, but she tells the children it's not worth much, and that their mother calling it "priceless" probably just meant that it was worth much to her.
After leaving the shop, the group runs into Jane on the street as she is helping organize a rally for labor workers. Jack escorts her since he's had a crush on her since they were children. Mary and the children go to the bank to find Michael, but the children head on up to Wilkins' office where Georgie overhears him plotting to take not only their house, but the homes of other people in London as well. The children burst into his office, threaten to expose him to their father and run down to the lobby. When the children find Michael, Wilkins denies anything about a plan to take the house, leaving Michael angry at Georgie for nearly getting him in trouble.
Mary and Jack walk the children back home as they run into Jack's lamp-lighting buddies, who help guide them home in song while also showing them how to speak their lingo. When they get home, Michael appears distressed amid his worries for losing the house. The children try to cheer him up and echo Mary's words to him regarding their mother.
The next night, the family has packed all their belongings and are preparing to head out. The neighbors gather around to say goodbye. Georgie then brings out the kite, and Michael takes a look to see that it's been patched up with a drawing he made of his wife and kids. When he looks closer, he sees that the drawing was made on the certificate that he had been looking for. They see that they have seven minutes to midnight, which means they won't make it before the deadline, so Mary, Jack, and the lamplighters gather to turn back time for the Banks family.
Michael and Jane rush to the bank while the lamplighters gather around Big Ben and try to get Jack up to the top to reach turn back the hands. He gets inside and dims the lights so nobody can see what they are doing. Meanwhile, Wilkins is waiting with Gooding and Frye for midnight to claims the Banks home. Mary floats up to the clock just before striking midnight, and she turns the time back five minutes. Thinking the time is wrong, Wilkins continues to wait as Michael and Jane try to get his attention with the kite. The wind blows it inside his office, and Frye lets them into the building. The children join them as they try to put the pieces together, but they are missing the piece with the signatures, which Georgie threw out. Feeling they have lost, Michael hits back at Wilkins and says he can take the house because he still has his family. Just then, Wilkins' uncle, Mr. Dawes, Jr. comes back from his travels and criticizes his nephew for his dirty deeds against the people of London. Dawes comes back to take over after firing Wilkins, telling Michael that he knew his father and agreed that he made some good investments, so the shares will be enough to pay off the loan, and the family can keep their house.
The following day, the family goes out to the park where Michael encounters an old woman selling balloons, who tells him to pick the right balloon. Michael admits that he hasn't held a balloon since he was a boy, and the Balloon Lady tells him that he's forgotten what it's like to be a child. He then grabs a balloon, which sends him floating in the air and the children follow suit along with the other park patrons including Jack, who believes that he is now part of the Lovely London Sky. Wilkins attempts to join, but grabs the wrong balloon, which falls to the floor while the Banks family floats among others, feeling happy and childlike.
As the family returns home, a gust of wind opens the front door, which Mary Poppins senses and feels that the time has come for her to leave. Michael and Jane remember that Mary Poppins planned to leave after the door opened but quietly thank her for coming back into their lives. Jack rides his bike around town again, and Mary floats up to the skies on her umbrella to return to her realm, taking one last look behind her and smiling.
- Emily Blunt as Mary Poppins
- Lin-Manuel Miranda as Jack
- Ben Whishaw as Michael Banks
- Emily Mortimer as Jane Banks
- Nathanael Saleh as John Banks
- Pixie Davies as Annabel Banks
- Joel Dawson as Georgie Banks
- Julie Walters as Ellen
- Colin Firth as William Weatherall Wilkins
- Meryl Streep as Topsy
- Dick Van Dyke as Mr. Dawes Jr.
- Angela Lansbury as The Balloon Lady
- David Warner as Admiral Boom
- Jim Norton as Mr. Binnacle
- Jeremy Swift as Hamilton Gooding
- Kobna Holdbrook-Smith as Templeton Frye
- Tarik Frimpong as Angus
- Noma Dumezweni as Penny Farthing
- Steve Nicolson as The Park Keeper
- Sudha Bhuchar as Miss Lark
- Edward Hibbert as Mary Poppins' Parrot Umbrella
- Colin Firth as a wolf in the animated Royal Doulton Bowl sequence
- Jeremy Swift as a badger in the animated Royal Doulton Bowl sequence
- Kobna Holdbrook-Smith as a weasel in the animated Royal Doulton Bowl sequence
- Chris O'Dowd as Shamus the Coachman Dog in the animated Royal Doulton Bowl sequence
- Mark Addy as Clyde the Horse in the animated Royal Doulton Bowl sequence
- (Underneath the) Lovely London Sky
- A Conversation
- Can You Imagine That?
- The Royal Doulton Music Hall
- A Cover is Not the Book
- The Place Where Lost Things Go
- Turning Turtle
- Trip a Little Light Fantastic
- Nowhere to Go But Up
- November 29, 2018 (Los Angeles)
- December 19, 2018 (Canada, France, Netherlands, United States)
- December 20, 2018 (Brazil, Czech Republic, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Portugal)
- December 21, 2018 (Bulgaria, Spain, United Kingdom, Ireland)
- December 25, 2018 (Denmark, Finland, Indonesia, Mexico, Norway, Poland, Singapore, Sweden)
- December 27, 2018 (Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Slovakia, Ukraine)
- December 28, 2018 (Estonia, Lithuania, Romania, South Africa, Turkey)
- January 1, 2019 (Australia)
- January 3, 2019 (Russia)
- January 8, 2019 (Philippines)
- January 24, 2019 (Argentina)
- January 31, 2019 (Hong Kong)
- February 1, 2019 (Japan, Taiwan)
The film received an approval rating of 79% on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 342 reviews, with an average rating of 7.26/10. It's consensus reads, "Mary Poppins Returns relies on the magic of its classic forebear to cast a familiar – but still solidly effective – family-friendly spell."
The film received four nominations for an Academy Award for Best Original Score for Marc Shaiman, Academy Award for Best Original Song for Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman ("The Place Where Lost Things Go"), Academy Award for Best Production Design for John Myhre and Gordon Sim, and Academy Award for Best Costume Design for Sandy Powell (who also received nominations simultaneously for the period comedy-drama film, The Favourite in the Best Costume Design category) at the 91st Academy Awards, losing three of its wins to its fellow Disney-distributed Marvel film Black Panther (for the Best Original Score, Best Costume Design and Best Production Design) and lost its win for the Best Original Song category to Bradley Cooper's remake of A Star is Born ("Shallow").
Trailers and Clips
- This is the first Mary Poppins film to be rated PG by the MPAA and shot in the 2.35:1 aspect ratio, unlike the original film that was rated G.
- Thus, Mary Poppins is also the first Disney live-action franchise where each film is designated a different MPAA rating; the original film was rated G, the biopic Saving Mr. Banks was rated PG-13, and this one is rated PG.
- This is Disney's first live-action/traditional animated hybrid film since 2007's Enchanted.
- This film includes some hand drawn animation made by Walt Disney Animation Studios, making it the first time since 2011's Winnie the Pooh to use traditional hand drawn animation.
- Its release date on December 19, 2018; 54 years after 1964's Mary Poppins, sets a new record as the longest gap between live-action film sequels in Disney history. Coincidentally, the original film was released 54 years after the year in which it was set, 1910.
- This film marked the third collaboration between Emily Blunt and Meryl Streep, who previously co-starred together in The Devil Wears Prada and Into the Woods. This time, Blunt takes the leading role while Streep takes the supporting role.
- In addition, this is the second time that Rob Marshall, Emily Blunt, and Meryl Streep collaborated after Into the Woods.
- This is the third musical that Marshall directed after Chicago and Into the Woods, followed by the upcoming live-action adaptation of The Little Mermaid.
- Colin Firth, Julie Walters, and Meryl Streep previously worked together on the film version of the ABBA musical Mamma Mia! and its sequel, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again.
- Ben Whishaw and Julie Walters previously appeared in Paddington and its sequel, Paddington 2. Mary Poppins Returns includes an in-joke reference to this in that one of the only items in the Banks' pantry is marmalade, which was Paddington's favorite food.
- Julie Andrews (the original actress of the title character), turned down a proposed cameo appearance as the Balloon Lady, fearing that it would be too distracting and argued that the sequel should be "Emily's show". Quite poetically, the role went to Angela Lansbury, who was considered for that of the title character in the original film before Julie Andrews was cast. Coincidentally, Andrews was hired to provide the voice of a monster in the superhero film Aquaman, which was released in the same month of December 2018 after Mary Poppins Returns.
- This is the third time that Angela Lansbury does a role for a Disney film, after playing Miss Eglantine Price in Bedknobs and Broomsticks, and Mrs. Potts in the 1991 animated original of Beauty and the Beast. She was also a candidate for the role of Mary Poppins.
- Coincidentally, Emma Thompson played P. L. Travers in the biopic about the production of the first film, Saving Mr. Banks and also played Mrs. Potts in the 2017 live-action adaptation of Beauty and the Beast. In addition, both Lansbury and Thompson also collaborated in Nanny McPhee (2005), as well as played the role of Mrs. Lovett in their respective theater productions of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (Lansbury portrayed the part in the 1979 Broadway play, whereas Thompson played the part in the 2014 Lincoln Center play).
- At the age of 93 at the time of the film's release, Angela Lansbury is the oldest female actor ever to appear in a Disney film. She is just two months older than the oldest male actor in a Disney film, Dick Van Dyke, who also appears here.
- Emily Blunt dove into P.L. Travers' books and found out that the character is remarkably different from Walt Disney's vision and Julie Andrews' characterization in the first movie, so Blunt's interpretation is closer to that of the books.
- Although the original setting of the first three Mary Poppins novels was the 1930s, Walt Disney changed this to the turn of the century for Mary Poppins. This film, set roughly twenty-five years after the first, restores the 1930s setting.
- Karen Dotrice, who played Jane Banks in the original film, made a cameo in this one as the elegant woman who asks Jane and Jack for directions. Her response, "Many thanks, sincerely" is a line from "The Perfect Nanny", a song Dotrice sang in the original film.
- This will be the final Disney Film to be released on Netflix, due to the launching of Disney+.
- In the closing credits, Dick Van Dyke is initially identified as Nackvid Keyd before the name corrects itself; this is reprise of the credits gag at the end of the original film.