Mary Poppins Returns
Casting Emily Blunt as the iconic title character in Mary Poppins Returns, a sequel 54 years in the making, proves to be a stroke of genius. Casting Lin-Manuel Miranda in the role of Jack, a copycat character modeled after Dick Van Dyke’s Bert in the original classic, well, not so much. Blunt plays the role with her own sensible spin, not by any means copying what the great Andrews did over half a century ago, but nonetheless giving us a practically perfect variation on the infamous nanny. Miranda sports the same cockney accent (not nearly as gloriously, wonderfully bad as Van Dyke’s) and plays a lamp lighter in London instead of a chimney sweep. His part of the film feels like a giant missed opportunity because, while he can sing and dance up a storm, he isn’t funny. Van Dyke was funny. The result is a movie that has a lot of charm and some amazingly good sequences—with Blunt powering us through. When Miranda does a Hamilton-like rap in the middle of one of his numbers, it all feels a little off, as do many of his moments. But while I might’ve been sitting on the fence as the film headed into the final turn, my attitude went full positive when none other than the man himself, Dick Van Dyke, shows up as a helpful banker. He not only shows up but gets on top of a desk and dances better than anyone else in the movie. It’s only a few seconds but, I’m telling you now, they are some of the best seconds any 2018 film has to offer—pure nostalgia heaven.