This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Katie’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
After its release in 2008, ‘Mamma Mia!’ proved to be surprisingly successful at the box office, making over $615 million. This lead to a sequel being announced and, now, a decade later, ‘Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again’ has just been released. However, is it as entertaining as its energetic predecessor or a disappointment like a lot of sequels?
Five years after the events of Mamma Mia!, on the Greek island of Kalokairi , Sophie (Amanda Seyfried) is running her mother Donna's (Meryl Streep) villa, who has died a year prior to the events of the film. Her relationship with Sky (Dominic Cooper) has been turbulent for some time, giving her cause to doubt that she can survive without her mother. With Tanya (Christine Baranski) and Rosie's (Julie Walters) guidance, Sophie will find out more of Donna's past, including how she fronted The Dynamos, started her villa on the island from nothing, met each one of Sophie's dads, Sam, Bill and Harry (Pierce Brosnan, Stellan Skarsgård, and Colin Firth), and raised a daughter, without a mother to guide her. She also has an unexpected visit from someone she has never even met: her estranged grandmother, Ruby Sheridan (Cher).
While lacking the high energy of the first film, ‘Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again’ is still very entertaining throughout and I doubt fans will be disappointed. Because most of ABBA’s biggest hits were featured in the previous film, most of their songs that feature in the sequel will probably only be known by die-hard fans of the Swedish pop group. Before watching ‘Here We Go Again’, I wasn’t familiar with the songs ‘Angeleyes’, ‘When I Kissed The Teacher’, ‘Fernando’, however, they were the songs I really enjoyed the most.
The majority of the film focuses a lot on Donna when she was younger and is played by Lily James who captures her likeable and ambitious personality. We learn how she met Harry (Hugh Skinner), Bill (Josh Dylan) and Sam (Jeremy Irvine). While these scenes are fun to watch, mainly due to its catchy musical numbers, the story is predictable as Donna explained her past in the first film. We know her romances with each of the three characters are going to fizzle so there’s no surprises or any tension. The romance aspect of the story is rushed so it’s hard to believe Donna had any feelings for either of the three men. I would’ve enjoyed ‘Here We Go Again’ if it had focused on the current day and on Sophie, who is pregnant and stressing about running the hotel on the island without her mother. I found this side of the story more interesting as I wanted to see more of the characters we loved from the first film.
It’s not really a spoiler to say that Donna is dead as many viewers guessed it from the trailer, due to her absence. I would’ve liked to seen Donna return, unfortunately, Streep was too busy filming for her Oscar nominated role in Steven Spielberg’s drama, ‘The Post’, which was released earlier this year. It’s a shame that the writers couldn’t come up with any better excuse as to why Donna wasn’t in the film so they killed her off. Despite this, Streep does have a cameo scene at the end of the film that may make certain viewers cry.
I did find the casting of Cher as Streep’s mother very confusing as she is only three years older than the Oscar winning actress. I think Cher fans may be disappointed as she doesn’t appear in the film until towards the end when she sings ‘Fernando’.
‘Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again’, while lacking the high energy of its predecessor, is still entertaining and a good follow up.
Full review is on my blog.