So, if you haven't seen my first thoughts video on Disney's follow-up fifty plus years in the making you can see it here. As always though I like to let these sink in a little more, & write out a more full review. Mary Poppins Returns will be no exception to that, even though I might have took an extra day or two this time around. As I said in my first thoughts many times, this film had an uphill battle from its inception. To try to follow up a classic, 50 plus years old no less, that has stood that test of time in almost every way, is no easy feat. And even though this one doesn't quite measure up to match its predecessor being practically perfect in every way, it does manage to hold it's own as a more than solid, highly enjoyable sequel. I'm gonna break this down into sections starting first with the overall story. This is where this movie really shines. It picks up with a grown up, widowed Michael Banks just finding out he's losing his childhood home to the bank, while at the same time raising his own three, highly grown up for their ages, kids of his own. Of course his sister Jane is by his side to help out, but the Banks kids are once again in need of Mary Poppins. Oh, and Michael's kids are too. What sounds like a simple story on paper, as they try to find lost bank shares to help pay for the house, turns into a at times heartbreaking tale, filled with magic & lessons abound. The real beauty to it being how well it not only picks up in a perfect place, but totally parallels the original's theme, without taking the easy way out of just copying its successes verbatim. On top of this, the film is absolutely beautiful. From the animated scene, to the dance choreography, to even just the overall use of color, saying this film's beautiful is an understatement. Now when it comes to the acting Emily Blunt owned this movie in the title role. She made this movie Mary Poppins' movie. Which I always thought of the original as Mary & Bert's film. With Dick van Dyke stealing the scene just as much as Julie Andrews. Not the case in this film. There will be no argument, this was Emily Blunt's film. And she was perfect, fully resisting the urge to just copy what Andrews had already done, she made this character her own. There were times it was so her own, I felt she was almost even out if character, but then I would tell myself that Mary is here for different reasons this time around. So as much as she comes when she's needed, she comes in the form she's needed as well. The more I think about it, the more I really like this extra layer to the character. Another shining piece of performance goes to the three kids, who were absolutely amazing. They struck acting gold with those three. Lin-Manuel Miranda was good, but as the main side character to Mary I feel he just fell a little short. His singing & dancing was great. It's just his acting fell a little short when you compare him to his predecessor Bert. He held his own, but he couldn't quite get on that level to rival Blunt. Which would have made him that equal part like Van Dyke did in the original. A major example of that was Dick van Dyke's cameo in this film, where he steals the scene from everyone. Two major differences in this film were an actual villain, who demands your hate, & the fact that this one was a little more Broadway than the original. I mention this Broadway feel now because there was one spot that I feel this negatively affected the film. And that's in Meryl Streep's character. She was the one dance scene to many in my eyes, & I would have loved to see her character used much like Ed Wynn's in the first. I think using her in a strictly comedic role, light on the music, would have added much to her role, & to the film as a whole. The tea party on the ceiling was actually one of my favorite parts of the original, & this would have been a perfect place to pay homage to that scene. Now this is a musical, so we have to mention that. I walked out of this with the original music still stuck in my head. Now, that said, I enjoyed all but one song in this film. However, none of the music was quite up to the original's. An impossible feat by the way, as the original had some of the best music to ever be put on film. One of the songs is just guaranteed to bring tears to your eyes, but a lot of this music had more of a Broadway feel in my opinion. Not a bad thing, just something I noticed. Out of all of them i absolutely loved "Trip the Light Fantastic", & the choreography that went with it. An amazing scene. Overall, I highly enjoyed this film, & would recommend it to anyone. You'll just feel better about life as a whole after watching it. It didn't hit the impossible goal set before it 50 plus years ago, but that by no means is a failure. This is a great film, & as sequels usually go, it's even better than that. I'd love to know & discuss your thoughts as you see the film. Put them in comments, like, & share.