Father and child sit together smiling while looking at a smart phone.

Want more recommendations for your family?

Sign up for our weekly newsletter for entertainment inspiration

Parents' Guide to

Mary Poppins Returns

By Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 6+

Blunt is a delight in sweet, nostalgic, toe-tapping sequel.

Movie PG 2018 130 minutes
Mary Poppins Returns Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 6+

Based on 111 parent reviews

age 5+

"Don't bother" is a good way to put it.

This is the kind of junk (probably expensive junk, given the musical sequences and special effects) that Hollywood likes to produce, but I don't like to watch. There's really nothing to recommend about it, though Blunt's acting is fine. It isn't funny or interesting or entertaining, and as for the message, it is simply, "If you would only start believing in nonsense, your real-world problems would be solved." Pure drivel.
1 person found this helpful.
age 7+

Pros and Cons, written by wife of user, needs to be at least 7 because of dangerous stunts, not exactly PG after that--more like G

Pros: Beautiful to watch. At the beginning I was thinking "this is going to be awesome" but overtime things began to change as you'll see in cons. It's also fairly clean with an effort to put it on par with the first movie in appropriateness. I also enjoyed the cameos--Angela Lansbury and Dick Van Dyke are always a treat. Positive message about investing and holding onto what's most important. Characters have mostly good manners. One of the lead women is bold and active in her community without running afoul of the law or common decency like her counterpart in the last movie (though I do think the 1930s was pushing it as far as wearing pants all the time goes--you really have to get to the 40s-60s to avoid the shock it would have caused and possibly inability to be admitted to some places). The main character does a great service when a widower is about to lose his home. There's also a great message about not being rude--Miss. Poppins does not appreciate people asking her age or weight. Cons: The music rushes by far too quickly to be understood--perhaps in hindsight a good thing for the inappropriate song because even with subtitles I couldn't comprehend what they were saying (it takes place on the stage when the children enter the cartoon in case you are wondering where to fast-forward, they talk about what's underneath the covers--it's supposed to be about books, but there's a reason Miss Poppins changes from a victorian to a flapper haircut and she uses the term "covers" and a focus on people instead of "cover" and just book content if you catch my drift--but I didn't catch any sultry dancing and honestly you probably won't need to fast-forward just don't have them watch the movie too much). Too much of the movie was about nostalgics and making connections to the first. It's true that what happens to people when they die is a given a mostly atheist/agnostic perspective and is repeatedly brought up because the father feels uneasy, however it's not made into a frighteningly empty answer, they do dress it up with a little imagination and positive thinking dealing with her not really being gone because she's not forgotten like some kind of cherished lost sock presumably to hold the younger audience over until they can handle reality (think 1996 Little Princess without the angel explanation). Which is fine, it's their belief/movie company's policy to approach things in this way--I just paused and asked my child, "Hmm, that person seems confused as to where his wife went when she died--can you explain what actually happened?" My child shares my faith and gave a faith oriented answer, and that was that. There's no real moral to this movie except the bare bones plot--it's there to entertain and excite the imagination. Perhaps devoid of most controversy--but in playing it too safe it's not super worthwhile or edifying because of that. Your child might relate strongly to this more than you will, especially when the adults won't believe the children even though the children can see that dishonesty has taken place. However I'm not sure how they will process all the fast singing. The music is not nearly as good as the first by the way. Other than perhaps "where the lost things go", it's just a bunch of senseless not very catchy noise. There was really no point in visiting Cousin Topsy-Turvey from Russia/Poland/Ukraine, wherever, or throw in the side romance and Miss. Poppins discussing it--just more things to take up screen time. The scary scenes would make it a 6, borderline 5. However the dangerous stunts bump it up to a 7, unless you are with them and very diligent then probably a 5 or even pushing a 4 if they don't scare easily. A major character puts a ladder on the back of his bike and everyone justs sits on it, his girlfriend later rides it sidesaddle even though she has pants--not sure that was the best choice. Bike helmets were invented decades before then, they just weren't widely available until 50 years ago--so you'll need to explain why they aren't wearing them. Stunts are performed on them and look easy and inviting to do. The worst is when they just stack ladders on top of each other to climb a clock tower---UM NO, not for a children's movie, bad idea especially since I'm sure if you have children you notice they attempt to put pillows on top of chairs to reach things up high. When the children ask Miss. Poppins to turn back time no magic is involved, the message here is that you can just break into things and manipulate them to make what you want happen. It might be unclear to your children why Miss. Poppins doesn't always tell the truth, something magical will happen and she'll add that it's ridiculous, no such thing. She is also very vain, looking at herself in the mirror and talking about how perfect she is, although that happens in the first. There are also plot holes--the children's father is a starving artist/part-time teller during the depression but somehow he can afford a kitchen maid??? Also wouldn't the house have been paid off by now it's been many decades since the first?

This title has:

Great messages

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (111 ):
Kids say (69 ):

Blunt unquestionably makes Mary Poppins her own while also keeping nostalgic viewers happy with tributes to the original in this whimsical, playful sequel. Director Rob Marshall loves making big-budget Hollywood musicals, and in Mary Poppins Returns, he ambitiously creates a delightful world that families with kids of all ages will be eager to dive into and enjoy. Everything from the amazing production design to the colorful costumes to the catchy, upbeat songs penned by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman (a few of which contain references to the Sherman Bros.' original 1964 score) has that Disney glow. The performances are all good, with Blunt leading the way. Miranda's Cockney accent is a little subtler than Dick van Dyke's was (British folks notoriously panned the lovable actor for his over-the-top attempt), and, refreshingly, there isn't a hint of romance between his Jack and Mary. Instead, they're old friends who show the three Banks kids how to be imaginative and helpful. Whishaw and Mortimer are well cast as the grown-up Michael and Jane, and Meryl Streep memorably joins the proceedings as Poppins' eccentric cousin Topsy.

If there's a relatively weak spot in the movie, it's the plot, which is fairly thin and predictable (many moviegoers will figure out exactly where those missing bank documents are), but you don't watch a Disney musical expecting Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy-style twists. The musical numbers are especially fun, and it's a pleasure to see Blunt and Miranda sing and dance together. Hamilton fans are rewarded with the big, Miranda-led lamplighters' song "Trip a Little Light Fantastic" (a clear successor to the original's "Step in Time"), and his and Blunt's rousing vaudeville duet "A Cover Is Not the Book" is also quite memorable. The lullaby "The Place Where Lost Things Go" is lovely, and "Nowhere to Go But Up" will make audiences remember the joy of "Let's Go Fly a Kite." Will this sequel replace the original in moviegoers' hearts? Probably not. But it's still a sweet spoonful of sugar.

Movie Details

Inclusion information powered by

Did we miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate