Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again Review

Bringing its fun and upbeat songs back to the big screen, the Mamma Mia cast is back and gives audiences a great and worthwhile epilogue to the 2008 original. There’s some great new songs and a look into fan-favorite Donna’s early days that are made even better thanks to Lily James’ excellent performance.

Taking five years after the original, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again follows a slightly older Sophie (Amanda Seyfreid) after she finds out that she is pregnant and she attempts to finish the renovations to her mother’s, Donna (Meryl Streep), hotel. But she constantly goes through struggles and desires the help from her three fathers (Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth, Stellan Skarsgard)  and her mother’s two eccentric best friends (Christine Baranski, Julie Walters). This is all intercut, with some flashy flashbacks of a young Donna (James) that show how she made it to the small Greek island and the wild nights spent with a young Sam (Jeremy Irvine), Bill (Josh Dylan), and Harry (Hugh Skinner).

Having the whole cast back feels extremely special and all of them give their all when on-screen. Their chemistry is still there and brings some fun and humorous moments to enjoy. Their vivacious energy also carries into some of the old and new songs brought into the mix and Baranski, Walters, and Seyfried are definitely stand-outs once the music kicks on.

The new additions also bring some great energy to a look into Donna’s past and carry their older version’s personalities well. James brings a performance that breathes new life into Donna’s character and add some flare to each song she sings. The younger versions of Tanya and Rosie, played by Jessica Keenan Wynn and Alexa Davies respectively, also make for some funny moments that mimic Baranski and Walters perfectly.

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James (Middle), Wynn (Left), and Davies (Right) give a fresh take on Donna and the Dynamoes. PHOTO: Variety

Newer renditions of songs from the previous film felt a little flat this time around and came off as a bit sub-par this time around. This could be perhaps be due to Streep’s Donna taking a backseat this time around and not being featured much in the movie. These songs tended to feel like they lacked her energy and charisma that was displayed so perfectly in the original.

However, newer songs were rarely misses and worked with moments in the story to make them have stronger impact. As said before, Seyfried, Baranski, and Walters were absolute standouts and their song, Angel Eyes, was definitely one of the best in the film. Singing legend Cher also brings her voice to add some power to the film’s finale and it felt refreshing to see her on-screen.

For me, though, the film rotating and flashback filled story was the weakest part of the film as a whole. There are a couple plot holes and changes from the original that could upset some continuity purists and the flashback story-telling can feel a little forced at times. The film tended to flashback to Donna’s youth at unwarranted times or moments where it felt a little too random to come up. It also tends to just add random story elements along the way and some don’t land that well and end up feeling a little bit unsatisfying.

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Having the old cast back feels refreshing and everyone feels like they are on their A-game.  PHOTO: standard.co.uk

Some additions do feel solid though and there is some pretty great parallels between past and present that feel just right and add some very funny moments. Also if you were a big fan of the original, seeing the characters reunite on-screen is extremely rewarding and doesn’t feel disappointing in the slightest.

So does a mostly Streep-less Mamma Mia still feel worth watching? Well, I would say so and it brings some much needed fun to the summer movie season. It’s a great collaboration of both young and old styles and sees some great performances, decent storytelling, and fun new songs to keep on listening to after the credits roll.

3.5

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