Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again ★★★½

In the spirit of Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again, I will attempt to constrain myself to using the names of Abba songs in my review. Finally, after 10 years of begging to gimme, gimme, gimme, a sequel to the widely popular Mamma Mia!, ABBA fans can rest easy. Preceding and following the events of the first film, the name of the game of Here We Go Again is simultaneously telling the stories of two young adults, Donna and her daughter Sophie, trying to pursue their dreams and romantic interests. Here We Go Again, much like its predecessor, feels like a romantic getaway to the Mediterranean - breezy, blissful, with plenty of nostalgia sprinkled throughout. Seeing a colorful flotilla packed with party guests getting down to Dancing Queen while Colin Firth and Stellan Skarsgard recreate scenes from Titanic is likely to bring a smile to your face.

While it will have its objectors who will claim that it is solely about money, money, money, Here We Go Again is far from an artless film, as it boasts some great set pieces and graphic match cuts that seamlessly connect the two storylines. One of the highlights is a Napoleonic rendition of Waterloo in a Parisian cafe, featuring a cameo from ABBA member Benny Andersson as a piano player. As ridiculous as its premise is, its cast fully embraces the silliness - yes, even Pierce Brosnan, who is a super trouper and continues to desperately struggle to be a part of the fun (why didn't they take a chance on me? I could have done a better job). The costumes are grandiose and not only capture the unique personalities of the different characters, but also the era of ABBA music. There are also some great running gags, one that involves a man who stamps passports who criticizes characters on their appearance.

While this will obviously be as divisive as Mamma Mia!, appealing solely to head over heels ABBA fans and those who go to the movies to escape and disgruntling film critics for its lack of substance or coherence, it does well, given its obvious constraints, as it is not only limited to being constructed around ABBA songs, but also less popular ones not featured in the original. Part of the fun is trying to see how they will integrate various songs into the plot (Fernando is quite hilarious). Lily James, the winner, takes it all as a young bella Donna, who is the beating heart of this film, elevating it with her captivating and carefree presence. I could have spent the entirety of the time in the past, as the present timeline in Here We Go Again pales in comparison, though Seyfried is a standout with her angel eyes. When all is said and done, if you are looking for the film equivalent of a summer holiday, book yourself a one-way ticket to Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again.

Oh, and thank you for the music, ABBA.

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