Spoiler Alert level: Low – this review will include some details of the movie plot without giving away much of the development of the plot.
Mamma Mia goes again, but this time it goes much better. The highly anticipated sequel builds upon the shortcomings of the first film to create a more compelling fairy-tale that will leave you on a high humming the splendid ABBA soundtrack for the rest of your week.
Amanda Seyfried is back as Sophie, and so is most of the original cast including Dominic Cooper as Sky, Julie Walters, and Christine Baranski as Rosie and Tanya respectively and Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth, and Stellan Skarsgård as the dad trio. Relevant additions to the cast include Cher and Andy Garcia. Ol Parker, best known for The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel series and Now is Good, takes over as the sequel’s director and writer.
Even though the sequel is set five years after the original, the movie actually deals with both Donna’s past and future. In its own way, it is both a prequel and sequel. Ol Parker does a great job with the script, but what ultimately makes the movie work is the resemblance of the younger cast to their seasoned counterparts and the delicate editing that blends both timelines together. The young-dynamo trio comes to mind with Lily James, Jessica Keenan Wynn, and Alexa Davies, being the highlight of the young casting. The young version of the Dad-trio shows less of a resemblance, but through thoughtful acting and good editing, their backstories are still effective.
Before watching Here We Go Again!, many might imagine Cher to be the stand-in for Streep but, in reality, it is Lily James who takes over most of the screen-time with all the enthusiasm and energy needed to carry the film. Even if no one can’t quite fill Meryl Streep’s shoes, James angelical voice and overflowing charisma take us on an adventure to learn how Donna, and ultimately Sophie came to be. Motherhood is once again at the core of Mamma Mia’s story, and in Here We Go Again we learn how it became so important for Donna to be the best mother she could be.
The script might not be best in class and the acting might not be superb but, in all honesty, what is Mamma Mia’s if not a charming romantic fairy tale packed with its signature polished musical acts on the beautiful island of Kalokairi. If that is what you are looking for in this sequel, you will not be disappointed. Ultimately, Here We Go Again is a superior sequel because it gets to say much more in about the same time without sacrificing what makes Mamma Mia so much darn fun.
P.S. Don’t miss the short but extremely funny after credit scene