Released 10 years after the original, Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again reunites the old cast with a delightful bunch of younger faces for a joyous and wonderfully camp extravaganza which, right now, is just what we all need in our lives.
The filmmakers successfully prevent the constant switching between the prequel and sequel aspects of the film from feeling jarring, by using this to highlight the similarities and differences between Sophie and the young Donna
The film serves as both a sequel, following ‘Sophie’ (Amanda Seyfried) as she struggles to balance marriage with preparations to reopen her mother, ‘Donna’s (Meryl Streep) hotel, and a prequel, telling the tale of how a ‘young Donna’ (Lily James) meets (and sleeps with) all three of Sophie’s potential fathers for the first time. The filmmakers successfully prevent the constant switching between the prequel and sequel aspects of the film from feeling jarring, by using this to highlight the similarities and differences between Sophie and the young Donna. This is particularly effective during the beautiful ‘I’ve Been Waiting For You’ musical number in which both women are shown to be pregnant and preparing for motherhood.
audiences are invited to witness all the parts of Donna’s early life that they already knew about from the first movie, resulting in a fun but uninformative sequence of shenanigans
Unfortunately, Mamma Mia 2 is littered with plot holes and inconsistencies between the first film and this one (Donna meets her three young men in a different order than was described in movie number 1), while uninteresting side plots exist merely to justify the inclusion of certain songs. The sequel plot also suffers from slight tone confusion; Sophie spends most of the first half moping around and feeling sorry for herself before the arrival of her dads suddenly turns the film into an unashamedly glittery and fabulous affair. Similarly, we’re treated to odd plot pacing in the prequel part, as audiences are invited to witness all the parts of Donna’s early life that they already knew about from the first movie, resulting in a fun but uninformative sequence of shenanigans.
One of the film’s saving faces is the actors’ performances as there is not a single weak performance from any of the main cast: Amanda Seyfried brings a welcome dose of maturity to her character while Lily James is engaging and utterly convincing as the spirited and care-free young Donna. The three young dads are charming in their own ways and can actually sing well (unlike their older counterparts), while Christine Baranski and Julie Walters, alongside their younger versions, are brilliant as ever. And of course, Cher makes a show-stealing cameo belting out a ridiculously dramatic and over-the-top rendition of ‘Fernando’. Evidently, the Mamma Mia films are best when they doesn’t take themselves too seriously.
Of course, the main drawing power of these movies is the extensive playlist of ABBA songs featured (something which more than makes up for any plot issues). One of the main criticisms that has surfaced in recent weeks is the lack of well-known songs used in this second movie. However, it proves refreshing to hear a selection of songs that you haven’t heard before, meaning that one is also spared from constantly comparing them to the originals. Musical numbers such as ‘When I Kissed The Teacher’ and ‘It Had To Be You’ will have you smiling and itching to get up and boogie the whole way through (people genuinely do this), while ‘Angel Eyes’ is hilariously extravagant and full of sparkle. This movie also successfully manipulates you in to feeling deeper emotions, meaning that you will likely find yourself full-on ugly crying during ‘My Love My Life’ for reasons that will come apparent.
this movie has caused audiences to be captivated by a completely new selection of ABBA songs
You may not be able to sing along first time watching, but the soundtrack’s dominance on the UK albums chart proves that this movie has caused audiences to be captivated by a completely new selection of ABBA songs. Plus, for those of you missing the classics, ‘Dancing Queen’ ‘Mamma Mia’ and ‘Super Trouper’ all feature and are even more fabulous second time around, whilst a selection of well-known tracks such as ‘The Name Of The Game’ and ‘Waterloo’ make their Mamma Mia debt in style.
For all the film’s niggling issues, by the time the spectacular finale is over, you’ll leave the cinema feeling blissfully ignorant of the thread-bare plot and cheesy dialogue, remembering only the sense unadulterated joy you felt during the show-stopping musical numbers. And let’s be honest, that’s really why we watch these movies in the first place. There’s nothing new, particularly thought provoking or even mildly subtle here but we wouldn’t want it any other way.