The first Mary Poppins Returns reviews are in, with many expressing adoration for it, though some critics have been split over the long-coming sequel.
Variety's Owen Gleiberman spoke highly of the film, saying that, "Emily Blunt is practically perfect in every way in a Mary Poppins sequel that uncannily recreates the original's wholesome studio-system vibe."
"Directed by Rob Marshall, it’s a lavishly high-spirited and, at times, nearly fetishistic recreation of a ’60s studio-back-lot musical, with cobblestone-streets-of-London sets that look like sets, dance numbers driven by a touch of Gene Kelly athletic-hoofer vivacity, and, more than that, a tone of whimsical sincerity that even the most innocent children’s films of today are a tad too slick and jaded to try for," he added.
The Telegraph's Robbie Collin was also a big fan of the film, calling Mary Poppins Returns "practically perfect in every way."
"Marshall and his team certainly do, and work his rosy-ripe, impressionistic visual style into both the new computer-generated backdrops and the series of London landscapes that play beneath the film’s opening credits," her went on to say. "Whether you get the reference or not is immaterial: the effect is all that matters, and it left me misty-eyed and codfish-mouthed."
Not all the reviews have been overwhelmingly positive, however, as The Wrap's Alonso Duralde summed up Mary Poppins Returns by writing, "The stars give their all to a never charmless (but often charm-adjacent) movie that slavishly follows in the original’s footsteps."
"It’s possible that there’s a filmmaker out there who could have threaded that particular needle in a way that would integrate the familiar into something new — the way J.J. Abrams did with the 2009 Star Trek reboot, for instance — but director Rob Marshall and screenwriter David Magee (Life of Pi) have taken the lane of least resistance and given us a clone that’s practically Poppins (1964) in every way," he continued.
Collider's Matt Goldberg was also averse to the movie, labeling it a "fading echo of the original" Mary Poppins film.
"Mary Poppins Returns is about as close as you can get to a remake of Mary Poppins without just calling it a remake," he explained. "Technically the story takes place 25 years after the original, but Rob Marshall’s movie is more about replacement rather than moving anything forward."
"There’s an extended animation sequence, but it uses newer animation techniques. Instead of visiting Mary Poppins’ uncle, they visit her cousin. Instead of a dance sequence with chimneysweeps, it’s a dance sequence with lamplighters," Goldberg elaborated. "If you haven’t seen the original Mary Poppins, then Mary Poppins Returns will probably seem vibrant and new. But when placed next to the classic, it looks more like a pale imitation."
Mary Poppins Returns opens in theaters on Dec. 21.