If one had never seen the original, this is still fairly disappointing - missing the mark on what kids and adults are looking for in a fun musical. The songs were not catchy - if asked right now, I can't even really note any of the tunes or lyrics for that matter. And the story-line was a bit shallow and scattered, and at times there were events that seemed to happen without even needing to - **soft spoiler** one scene in particular where Mary Poppins comes to the "rescue", only after standing there and watching others attempt to do the job for several minutes. There was definitely some entertainment value in it, and the acting by the main characters was good. I for one actually really liked Emily Blunt's version of Poppins - again, if we pretend the first one never existed.
Now that said, for those that have seen the original, here's what I have to say. Very disappointing. I believe for this to have worked - and had the potential to be it's own classic - it was far more critical for the movie to retain it's story telling consistency, rather than maintain any strict character consistency. Rather than a "return" this should have been a "passing the torch". For Disney to think that they could in fact have a new actress come and actually BE Mary Poppins, they must have taken one too many spoons full of the Rrrrrum Punch!. This movie would have worked much better if it was Carry Poppins (Mary's daughter... or something). And she comes to pick up where Mary left off. It might have paralleled the character shift similar to the Banks kids. They also missed the opportunity to tie in many of the magical marks of the original Poppins - take for instance the torn up Nanny Ad in the original. Mary would never have come if she hadn't received the request. This would have a been a much better call for Mary. The adult Michael could have torn something up and tossed it in the fireplace, and then Poppins sees it and knows there's trouble. There could have also been the use of the Measuring Tape to measure up the new kids. That would have been a fun element to grab back. Instead they try too hard to mimic similar characters (converting the funny-as-heck laughter scene from the original with Uncle Albert to a completely confusing romp with Cousin Topsy). It was a forced character. Not only that, but the charm of Bert's intro where he talks to the audience. And how he stands up for Michael's father in the original - very good moral guidance for the children. And speaking of morals, the original had a deeper meaning than simply filling a Nanny position. Mary was able to restore a family, helping the mother, father, and kids rethink their priorities (turning the dad toward the kids and the act of kindness to a homeless). "Return" simply lacks that depth.
Again, this was an entertaining film that kids might enjoy - albeit a little long. But wait for it on DVD.