Movie Review: Mary Poppins Returns (2018)

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Summary: Decades after her original visit, the magical nanny returns to help the Banks siblings and Michael’s children through a difficult time in their lives.
Pros:
Cast and Characters.
  • Emily Blunt as Mary Poppins. I love Emily Blunt and I think she did a great job as Mary Poppins. I always saw her as a character who is there to help you when you need it, not to do the work for you. She’s the kind of person who will allow you to try to make the mistake, make the effort before she steps in. It’s important life lessons. I love her snarky and “chilly” comebacks and how vain she is. She looks at her reflection whenever she can. I mean do you girl lol. She is very loving though which is clearly shown in how she handles the children. I also loved the moments where it’s clear she’s sad or emotional about what’s happening. There’s a scene where Michael is yelling at his children, her facial expression was a bit sad. I think Emily Blunt had a lot of fun in this role. I think she was a great choice to pick up where Julie Andrews’ left off. She was energetic when she needed to be, she was stern/firm and her facial expressions and her affected kind of posh tone of voice was great!
  • Lin-Manuel Miranda as Jack. Is there anything this guy can’t do!? Jack is a cockney lamplighter and he’s basically the Bert of this film. Jack is extremely likable, he’s a nice and sweet guy who helps whenever he can. I like his childlike energy whenever he’s with the kids but he’s still an adult because he has his role in the world, but he takes great pleasure in it. He has his community and he’s proud of it. I also like that he’s basically ride-or-die with Mary Poppins lol. Must have gotten those tips from Bert lol. LMM was fun to watch. I knew he’d be fine, but I was curious because I’ve only really known him from his work behind the camera more so than in front of it. But the camera loves him and it’s clear he loves the camera. I think Jack could have been annoying, but he manages not to do that.
  • Ben Whishaw as Michael Banks. He is working as a part-time teller at his father’s bank. He is a struggling artist who was recently widowed. He’s very sad at the start of the film, where he really doesn’t know what to do or how to handle life without his wife. His song “Conversation” really talks about that and it’s a sad song and I think Ben Whishaw does a good job in the role. I think he’s a great emotional actor anyway. He has a lot of great moments in the film. He has basically walked in his father’s footsteps but in a different way. Mr. Banks wanted his kids to grow up, but Michael’s kids have already done that and he’s just too in his head to realize they didn’t need to do that, or at least shouldn’t have too.
  • Emily Mortimer as Jane Banks. Jane isn’t as prominent in the film, but she is Michael’s big sister, so she would have to be included. She has followed in her mother’s footsteps and is a labor organizer. Her main issue is that she seems to have forgotten her own life due to her need to help others all the time. Jane is so willing to help her brother that she even forgoes going to work because he needed her more. That’s love right there! But she’s forgotten herself. I always find Emily Mortimer sweet to watch on-screen. She’s likable and she looks like a grown-up Jane (more than Whishaw looks like an adult Michael lol).
The Children. We get three kids this time. There were times where I felt that it might have been too much to have three but thinking about it, it wasn’t detrimental to the film and the three kids worked well together.
  • Pixie Davies as Annabel Banks. She is one of the twins along with John and she has grown up exponentially in the last year after their mother’s deaths that she is a little adult. It seems like she’s the older twin because she seems to call the shots and even takes the lead most of the time. She will also do anything for her brothers, shown by the many times she has gone after Georgie without hesitation. She also has the idea to sell their mother’s bowl to help pay for the house. Pixie Davies is cute and fine in her role. She is likable, which is hard sometimes when you have kids who are acting like grownups because of situations that require them to be. Usually they’re annoying, but she’s not.
  • Nathanael Saleh as John Banks. Very similar to Annabel’s character just in boy form lol. I do think he’s the younger twin, but he also is on the same wavelength as Annabel when it comes to acting like an adult. We see them taking care of their father as he seems to be forgetful of adulting due to his grief. They’ve taken it rather well for a pair of 10-year-olds. I’m assuming their 10-12. Nathanael Selah is adorable lol and likable.
  • Joel Dawson as Georgie Banks. He is the youngest Banks child and the one who is the most like a child. The others often look or run after him because of whatever he might get himself into. He’s super cute. Also, a likable kid.
Musical Numbers. The big thing that sells this movie besides Mary Poppins is the musical numbers. There are a lot of numbers in here that are sweet, grand and fun to watch. “The Place Where Lost Things Go”, is a great song, it’s basically a lullaby and it’s very sweet, it really helps the movie come to its conclusion towards the end. “Can You Imagine That?” was a fun song in the bathtub, “A Cover is Not the Book” was also fun, and I loved that they allowed Lin Manuel-Miranda to rap. Lastly, the “Trip a Little Light Fantastic” is the Lamplighters song led by Jack and it was fun to watch.
Sweet Message. I think there are a few messages going on here, but the two that stand out is “don’t forget what it’s like to be a child”, which is like the first film. Secondly, I would say “family” is also a major part of the film. Michael is so stricken with grief that his children must grow up quickly to make up for the loss of their mother, not to mention, he’s so preoccupied with being a grownup, that he forgets that the important moments are with his children. As for “family”, it goes hand in hand with the first message as Michael needs to get his head together for his kids. I think that’s always important. As for Jane, it’s more like a “live your life” as she seems to help Michael a lot, which is good, but she seems to forget herself in the process, which is why her little side plot, while conventional, was cute.
Fun and Enjoyment. This film does have a brighter color palate than the first film, which works for not only 2018 but for the 1930’s London they’ve created. I think there are a lot of sequences in this film that are spectacle and so much fun to watch. Like I mentioned before, three of the musical numbers really stood out to me (not counting the Lullaby song), “Can You Imagine That?” in the bathtub was cute; “A Cover Is Not the Book” while in the china bowl was what I’d consider the BIG number and I thought it delivered. Probably one of the best musical numbers of the film. Lastly, “Trip a Little Light Fantastic” is the like the “Step in Time” number from the first as it’s a Jack led number with his Lamplighters and it was fun as well.
Beautiful Costumes. Sandy Powell does the costume work here and it’s so beautiful. You have probably seen her other works like The Favourite. But her work is soooo good, particularly on Mary Poppins and Jane’s characters. The other characters also had nice costumes that fit in the time, the attention to details in the kid’s clothes and even their looks whenever they went on their adventures were great to look at it. However, I loved all of Mary Poppins’ looks.
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This blue coat is everything. I loved her hat as well. Every time they zoomed in on her shoes, I was like “Oh so pretty!” I also love the red coat she wears later. When they go into the china world, they’re wearing clothes that look made of china and it’s so lovely. I mean, the white dress Mary Poppins wears in the chalk drawing is iconic but I liked the pink dress.
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Great costumes!!! The attention to detail were great. The film is set in the 30’s so it’s clear that the costumes reflect that and while Mary’s look has updated, you know it’s supposed to still be the same character we know and love from Julie Andrew’s portrayal. The silhouette is essentially the same with some updates to her look, like the fringed cape. Either way, it’s lovely.
Cinematography/Visual Effects. It is a beautiful movie. It has a very clear and almost bright look to it compared to the darker/grittier look of the first one, especially while in London. All the musical numbers have these grand CGI experiences with these bright colors and it really helps it feel magical in those moments.
Cons:
Musical Numbers. Yes, I know it’s here as well as in the pros BUT there are so many songs and musical numbers in this film it feels bloated and you get fatigued quickly. It seemed like this film had way more songs than in the first, I checked and the first had I think at least two more performed numbers, but for some reason (and I am a musical person, this never happens), I started to get a little annoyed at how much they sang everything. I also think a lot of it had to do with the fact that they weren’t as ear-catching as they may have wanted them to be. I don’t really remember what any of them sounded like. None really stood out in terms of the songs afterwards. I think that’s the problem. They just don’t stand out.
Falls Flat. Another big issue I had was the ending. We have something we’re building up to with them losing their house, but it doesn’t seem to me that the movie remembers that throughout the film. It’s great that Mary Poppins has returned but did she really need to? I mean, sure, she helped the kids be kids again and gave help here and there but it’s not the quite the same punch as it is in the first with Mr. Banks trying to make Michael be a man too early. The tension isn’t there. I just didn’t feel a satisfying conclusion in this movie. It’s like things happen to make the movie move forward but it didn’t really have anything to do with the main plot of them losing their house. Ya know? Mary Poppins even says, “I’m here to look after the Banks children” and when the child says “Us??” She says, “oh yes you too.” But she was talking about Jane and Michael, but she never really does anything with them. I guess it was through the children and then whole thing with Jane and Jack.
Overall, I really enjoyed Mary Poppins Returns. I think it was a fun movie with a great cast with good chemistry with each other who loved their characters and who had a great deal of fun. Emily Blunt steals the show as Mary Poppins. LMM does a great job with Jack and the kids are all enjoyable as well. Ben Whishaw is also a standout as he holds a lot of the emotional weight in the film. The musical numbers are fun to watch with energetic music and the visuals for this film are outstanding. THE COSTUMES! *dies* It has a sweet message and I think it’s a great bit of entertainment. Now, I do think the songs, while the numbers were fun, the songs weren’t (with a few exceptions) standouts. It seemed like there were too many in such short spans of time that it began to feel annoying and the film bloated. I also don’t think it lives up to the magic it wanted to inspire. It falls flat for me and I’m not left feeling like the story was worth telling. But I think it’s worth the watch to see Mary Poppins live on again.
Rating: 3.7 out of 5 stars.
Have you seen Mary Poppins Returns? Is this your introduction to Mary Poppins? If so, what’s the matter with you! Watch the first one! What are your thoughts. Comment below and let me know what you think.
Thanks for reading!

 

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Movie Review: Kingsman: The Golden Circle (2017)

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Summary: When their headquarters are destroyed and the world is held hostage, the Kingsman’s journey leads them to the discovery of an allied spy organization in the US. These two elite secret organizations must band together to defeat a common enemy.
*There may be spoilers below if you haven’t seen any of the trailers or heard anything about this film.
Pros:
Cast and Characters.
  • Taron Egerton as Eggsy Unwin. Eggsy has come a long way from the young man we got to know in the first film. He is the current Galahad due to the tragedy of the first film, he’s acclimated to his new life as a Kingsman (as well as other things). He’s a gentlemen and he’s having to deal with other grownup choices and situations. It’s not like Eggsy wasn’t mature before he just had a lot more baggage then and now it’s like, he carries himself differently. It’s cool to see the change. But I thought he was a strong standout in the first film and I think he is again here, I actually think without him and without him knowing his character so well, it might not have been as good or fun. Taron Egerton is able to in this film to maintain Eggsy’s “gentlemen” side, his more “Eliza Doolittle” side and trying to live a new life. It’s all pretty interesting. I love him.
  • Julianne Moore as Poppy Adams. She is the leader of “The Golden Circle”, a secret organization and the head of a pharmaceutical company. She’s like a Susie Homemaker gone crazy in this film. Poppy has a plan to become a respected business woman in the eyes of the world, she’s been hiding out for so long that she misses being apart of the population. Julianne Moore is good, her delivery is very upbeat even when crazy things are happening and I thought Moore transcended her character because she was way better than what the material for her character was. I wish she had the chance to be more scary or more intimidating or something because I know she totally can be those things even with the type of character Poppy Adams is.
  • Pedro Pascal as Agent Whiskey. A Statesman secret agent. He is pretty cool, he is known for his lasso and electric lasso weapons as well as the cool gun twirling trick. He has a lot of great action scenes and he spends a lot of time working with Eggsy on this mission. He’s older so he kind of has a “wiser agent” mentality and that whole “I have more experience” etc. kind of thing but he trusts Eggsy which is also interesting. I’ve only seen Pedro Pascal in Game of Thrones so I wasn’t sure what to expect with him here but I liked him. I thought he was really cool and I couldn’t wait to see his stunts considering what I saw in the trailers.
  • Mark Strong as Merlin. He is tech support, also Eggsy’s trainer and sometimes he may be a field agent for Kingsman. Merlin is awesome. He always has something insightful to say, sometimes it’s funny and useful and other times it’s useful. He’s super smart and has taken on the role of “mentor” to Eggsy in Harry’s stead. Merlin is the one who goes with Eggsy to America to meet the Statesmen and he seems to create a bonding friendship with Ginger Ale over being the tech support. I was so sure that Mark Strong was going to be a bad guy in the first film as he’s usually always playing the bad guy in movies (or just in Matthew Vaughn’s movies) but I was quite relieved that Merlin wasn’t a bad guy. He remains loyal here and he and Taron Egerton have really good chemistry with each other. He actually works well with everyone. He has a great scene in the third act.
  • Halle Berry as Ginger Ale. She is the Statesman’s tech support and she wants to be a field agent. She is loyal to her team ,though she’s frustrated about not being able to make it onto the field, instead of just being behind the computer screen. She and Merlin manage to bond a bit over their tech support roles. I normally don’t care for Halle Berry but she was fine here, her character is likable and I think she manages to hold her own in this role.
  • Colin Firth as Harry Hart. He returns in this film after being shot in the head in the first film. He’s the former “Galahad” and Eggsy’s mentor. In this film, he starts off a bit different from the Harry we know. Colin Firth is always good though and he’s great in all that he does for this character in this film. He has a great action scene in the third act of the film.
Supporting Characters. Though everyone outside of Eggsy is technically a supporting character here, there are some who are in the movie that don’t have large roles. I also don’t want to talk about people without giving away any surprises in the film or what relevance they might have.
  • Jeff Bridges as Champagne “Champ”. He is the head of Statesman. I don’t think I’ve ever seen Jeff Bridges with a shaved face before and it was so weird lol and he’s  cool. Very stereotypical cowboy though.
  • Channing Tatum as Tequila. He’s a Statesmen secret agent and I am not a fan of Tatum but he’s not in the movie enough for me to dislike his character. He’s fine. He has a cool action scene when we first meet him and a funny scene in the second act.
  • Surprise Celebrity. A prisoner of Poppy Adams, he’s like an extreme version of himself. But I quite enjoyed him. Especially his little action scene in the third act. He is actually the source for a lot of the humorous moments.
The Action. I definitely think the action in this movie is fast paced, it’s fun and there is a lot of it. There are some amazing action scenes. The very first scene jumps right into the action and every time there is a large action set piece, it’s very easy to get sucked right into it. The very first scene, has that awesome stunt in it with the car, as the fight is mostly in the car. Very cool. There is also a great scene when Eggsy and Merlin first get to America, where they have a quick encounter with Agent Tequila. It was fast but it was fun. The biggest action set is in Poppyland towards the end. There is a lot of action set pieces in this film, so if you’re expecting action like the first, you get it and a bit more. Eggsy has a one on one fight with one of Poppy’s main henchmen and it’s a good fight, a lot of it is like “DIANA” but it’s still fun. I like the choreography. Eggsy already had experience from his experience in his Army training so seeing him do that coupled with what he’s learned from being in the Kingsman, it’s so graceful most times. IT’S SO COOL!!! I will talk about this in the cons too though.
The Music. The music is done by Henry Jackman and Matthew Margeson and it’s fun. During a lot of the fight scenes after getting to America and teaming up with the Statesman the music is Country and its so funny hearing it coupled with the fight scenes. It’s so fun to enjoy the fight with the music, especially during Whiskey’s fight scene in the snow.
Cinematography. I have to say that outside of the returning characters and the actors doing well in their roles, this is probably the biggest praise. This film looks so beautiful. George Richmond is the cinematographer and the way he shoots the locations, especially when they have traveled to other places such as the Swiss Alps, so beautiful. The festival Eggsy and Whiskey attends looked beautiful. This film just looks very good.
Emotional. The movie is actually kind of emotional. It may not be like crying emotional but it has a lot of moments where you’re upset about what happened.
Cons:
The Story. I think one of the biggest problems with the movie is the story. Not that it doesn’t make sense but it’s all over the place. There’s so much going on in this movie. There’s the main plot with Poppy, there is Harry’s storyline, there is a storyline with Eggsy, almost each agent from Statesman have little subplots and the heart of the movie just gets lost in the shuffle. Subplots aren’t always bad but they’re crowding when you have a film like this. In the first one, you cared about Eggsy’s family because he cared for them and we got to see a lot of what was going on with his family and you wanted them to be safe considering their circumstances. Here, he has someone else to care about and while I was like “aww” when they were affected by the drugs, I was more invested in Eggsy’s reaction instead of what was actually happening to that person. They weren’t developed enough for me by themselves to care. It was more like “aww, Eggsy is gonna be sad”.
The Villain. A film sometimes is only as good as its antagonist but here… eh. She’s so away from everyone else that she doesn’t feel like much of a threat. Valentine was around, he was doing press and what not, using his platform in plain sight whereas she couldn’t do that and his threats were felt because he was there. But she’s just holed up in her little 1950’s Poppyland. The only people I felt she really posed a threat too is her subordinates and her celebrity hostage. The only time her threat is felt is when someone was exposed to her virus in some drug they took or smoked and someone else is worried about them. It just felt superficial and I feel like she could have been just as upfront and personal as Valentine was. I kind of wanted the hamburger thing to be a thing I feel like that would have been more menacing and it would have been a thing about fast food or meat or something lol.
The Action. A lot of this is for the action, there’s a lot going on in the action. While it’s fun and entertaining to watch there are times where it feels jumpy. In the first film it was over the top but it worked, for this one, they really went for it and it didn’t always work. The whole style of filming where the camera is spinning around the action (most evident in the Church scene from the first one) is used a lot here and while the action itself is fun and I’m like aye it’s still kind of annoying.
Slow Moments. While this film also has some good moments, there are a few times where it feels like it just halted. The first one is fast paced and even in the non action moments or the non spy moments, it was still interesting to watch and this one has a few moments where I’m like “okay, that’s cool”.
Sequelitis. This film suffers what a lot of sequels do, where they try to be bigger and better than the first one, they try to take what made the first one fresh and original and expand on that but go to far where it just feels overdone and cheap *looking at you Guardians of the Galaxy vol 2* and that’s what this film suffers from. It’s trying to hard to be better than the first one that it’s not. For example, there is already some crazy stuff that happens but there’s this one scene at the festival and I just wondered why they couldn’t just make the girl ingest the tracker. You’ll know what I’m talking about. It was so uncomfortable that Taron didn’t even want to do it lol. Sometimes it’s hard to pick up a sequel where the character has already adapted to their new lifestyle, or are in their new job venture. It’s always fun learning about it or watching the character become whatever it is, but once they’re there it has to remain interesting and sometimes it’s not. But anyways, this film could have kept what made the first one so original, surprising and fresh and just pumped more heart into it instead of pumping steroids.
Overall, I did like this film, it was fun to watch and I enjoyed it because I love Eggsy, Harry and Merlin. I liked the characters enough, I thought the actors did well in their roles. Taron Egerton was definitely a standout as he understands his character so well that he just holds the film together. He’s funny, he’s handsome, he can play all sides of his character well and I’m interested to see where he goes next. I think the action is fun to watch, it’s over the top but it’s still fun, plus coupled with the music choices it makes me feel energized watching it. The look of this film is absolutely gorgeous, all the locations look crisp like I was right there with the characters. I like the celebrity guest, they were fantastic and funny. However, this film does suffer from the “sequelitis” in which it tries to be better than the first one, by being bigger, better and more outrageous and it doesn’t succeed, it just feels like it’s trying too hard. The villain character wasn’t very interesting, menacing or fearsome even though Julianne Moore was really great at playing the character. The story is also very crowded. But I overall enjoyed the movie.
Rating: 3.0 out of 5 stars.
Are you going to see Kingsman: The Golden Circle?
What is your favorite SPY movie?
Let me know in the comments below and don’t forget to keep an eye out for future reviews and other writings on my blog.