It has been over 10 years since the previous Mamma Mia and took the musical world by storm. Whether it was good or bad people were talking about it; I have often seen it listed as a guilty pleasure film for many. As I mentioned in my review of the first film which you can view here I was looking forward to the sequel but I won’t lie and say I wasn’t concerned that they would mess up with the original story. While the sequel was not perfect and might have messed up the timeline a tiny bit I still very much enjoyed the movie. As this is still in theaters I’m issuing a big spoiler alert. I DO NOT OWN THE PICTURE.
Five years after the previous film Sophie Sheridan (Amanda Seyfried) now runs the hotel after Donna (Meryl Streep) passed away a year ago. She plans a big re-opening of the hotel named after Donna as she prepares along with the staff; including new gloomy manager Fernando Cienfuegos (Andy Garcia), one of her dads/stepfather Sam Carmichael (Pierce Brosnan) who is still grieving Donna’s death and her mom’s closest friend Tanya (Christine Baranski) and Rosie (Julie Walters). Sophie expresses her desire to make her mother proud, but she is also upset because two of her dads Bill (Stellan Skarsgård) and Harry (Colin Firth) cannot make it and Sky (Dominic Cooper) has a job offer in New York; further somewhat straining their relationship. Meanwhile while this is happening the audience travels all the way back to 1979 when Donna (Lily James) graduates from Oxford, along with Tanya (Jessica Keenan Wynn) and Rosie (Alexa Davies). After her mother doesn’t show up for her graduation Donna decides to travel to the island of Kalokairi. While traveling there, and after arriving Donna meets three men that would change her life forever: the quirky Harry (Hugh Skinner), the flirty Bill (Josh Dylan) and the handsome Sam (Jeremy Irvine) I probably shouldn’t go into too much more, but I cannot forget the arrival of Sophie’s estranged grandmother Ruby (Cher)
There have been times when movies get a sequel and they are not really necessary. That is what I originally thought when I heard about this film; however those thoughts were quickly erased from my mind a few moments after Lily James came on the screen. She has recently been an actress I have admired over a few of her films and this role is no exception. I’m sure she felt the pressure of portraying a young version of Meryl Streep (arguably the greatest actress alive today) but I thought she absolutely nailed it in terms of acting and singing. I also very much enjoyed the younger versions of the dads. Skinner, Dylan and Irvine are all very good looking men, their singing voices were better than I thought they were gonna be and their acting was pretty spot one with their older selves; I hope their careers continue to grow after this. Wynn and Davies were perfect as Tanya and Rosie; Davies if I may say had me laughing a little too loud in the theater at times. Of course I cannot forget about the original cast members that returned. Seyfried shined once again as Sophie while Streep’s appearance was brief but nonetheless enjoyable. It was great to see Brosnan, Skarsgård and Firth again; and while some singing has improved it is not by much. Baranski and Walters were just as hilarious as in the first film (Baranski has a line that almost had me falling out of my seat) while Cooper did pretty well as Sky; although I admit his singing voice may have gone down since the first film. Garcia was amusing as Fernando but of course a special spotlight was shined on Cher as Ruby. Whether it is her singing or her acting you cannot take your eyes off of Cher. The writing was pretty good, but I was a little annoyed because how Donna met the guys in the film doesn’t seem to line up with how it was in the original show and movie.
The soundtrack for the movie including many more of ABBA’s greatest hits and I think it might actually be better than the first. Favorites from the first film such as “Mamma Mia” performed by James, Wynn and Davies, “Dancing Queen” by the present cast “I Have a Dream” by James “Waterloo” performed hilariously by James and Skinner “The Name of the Game” by James as she expresses her love for Sam and “Super Trooper” by everyone at the end of the film made their way back, songs from the Broadway show that did not make it to the first film such as “One of Us” performed by Seyfried and Cooper on opposite sides of the world and “Knowing Me Knowing You” performed by James and Irvine as the couple breaks up appeared while new songs were added to tell the past story of Donna as well as the present with Sophie and company. Among the new songs were “Fernando” sung brilliantly by Cher, “Why Did It Have to Be Me” by James, Skinner and Dylan, “Andante Andante” by James, “Angel Eyes” and “I’ve Been Waiting For You” by Seyfried, Walters and Baranski and finally “My Love, My Life” by Streep and Seyfried which may or may not leave a tear in your eye.
Regardless of the small inaccuracies I still loved the sequel I did not know I wanted. While you may not have to watch the original film to understand the sequel it does help a little bit. I will definitely by going again and again to see Mamma Mia Here We Go Again.