It’s hard to beat Mary Poppins. It’s practically perfect in every way, after all. But Disney’s sequel Mary Poppins Returns sure tries its absolute hardest to be worthy of the original.

The film opens with a grown-up Michael (Ben Whishaw) who now has three kids of his own and is raising them in the old family home. He is doing this by himself, having lost his wife the previous year to an undisclosed illness. And though art is Michael’s passion, he has taken a teller job at the Fidelity Fiduciary Bank to make ends meet. Unfortunately, the job isn’t doing the trick. After falling behind on a loan repayment, the bank is threatening to repossess the Banks family home.

Grown-up Jane (Emily Mortimer), much like her mother, is an activist. She helps protect laborers’ rights via a group called SPRUCE. She shows up and offers to help Michael search for their father’s bank shares – a certificate is surely hidden somewhere in the house – to help pay off Michael’s loan and keep the house. Amidst the chaos, Mary Poppins (Emily Blunt) arrives to save the day. She cares for the new generation of Banks kids in her special, magical way while keeping a watchful eye on the older pair.

Blunt does a marvelous job portraying one of the most iconic characters in film history, which is no easy feat. She manages to honor Julie Andrews’ version while adding something new of her own. Much of the film is like that – familiar, but with a spark of modernity.

The perfect set and costume design, elaborate, completely original musical numbers, and beautiful animation feel like magic only Disney can pull off. Special appearances by Angela Lansbury and Dick Van Dyke only add to the sparkle.

Perhaps the only criticism worth noting is that a few moments feel a bit out of place. A pelvic thrust delivered by Blunt during a circus tent stage performance is a little odd, if not off-putting. Julie Andrews’ Poppins was cheeky to be sure, but she also praised Bert for not “pressing his advantage” – that is, getting too frisky – so it feels odd for her to do the sexual dance move.

Similarly, there is a scene with bikes that feels a tad too modern. BMX-style stunts slightly taint what is otherwise a sublimely choreographed routine.

Overall though, Disney has a hit on their hands. They’ve managed to pay homage to the past and build on a beloved story. Audiences are sure to be singing the new songs right along with the old.

Mary Poppins Returns is in theaters December 19th. Go have another jolly holiday with your favorite magical, flying nanny.