Editors' Choice

Disney Reveals First Trailer for ‘Mary Poppins Returns’

Steve Porter / September 17, 2018

Disney is playing our heartstrings like the world’s saddest violin with the first trailer for Mary Poppins Returns. Building on the box office success of films like the live-action Beauty and the Beast and using the same playbook as the family-friendly Christopher Robin, Mary Poppins Returns is their latest nostalgia-fueled sequel to a classic children’s film.

The trailer lays out the basic story in a few brief moments: the children from the first film, Michael and Jane Banks (Ben Whishaw and Emily Mortimer) are all grown up and suffering from the recent death of Michael’s wife, leaving his three children (Pixie Davies, Nathanael Saleh, and Joel Dawson) lonely and stricken with grief. Mary Poppins (Emily Blunt) returns to help the Banks family with a little help from her magical cousin Topsy (Meryl Streep) and dancing street-lighter Jack (Lin-Manuel Miranda).

The film appears carefully calibrated to include all of the elements of the original film, including new musical numbers, animated sequences that mimic the hand-drawn animation of classic Disney films, and a cameo from Dick Van Dyke. Disney has gently modernized the sequel with a few harmless nods to contemporary interests—it appears like the parents are more closely connected with their children and Jane Banks is a suffragette fighting for women’s rights. Judging from the trailer, our main concern is whether or not the film suffers from bloat—there’s a lot of characters and dozens of scenes showcased in a nonsensical blur of “wonder, magic, excitement!”

While this might sound overly critical, it’s not; we’re relatively confident the film will be exactly what it seems: touching, fun, and wholesome. It’s almost scary how good Disney is at manipulating our feelings. Whether or not Disney can recapture the same magical sense of true wonder delivered by the original ideas present in the first film remains to be seen.

The film stars Emily Blunt, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Ben Whishaw, Emily Mortimer, Julie Walters, Angela Lansbury, Colin Firth, and Meryl Streep, and Dick Van Dyke. Mary Poppins Returns descends into theaters on December 19.