REVIEW: “Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again”

Jonathan Montague, Staff Writer

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Possibly the most popular female-led musical of all time, “Mamma Mia!” has used the siren songs of 70’s pop group ABBA to ensnare audiences since its premiere in 1999. Their transition from stage to screen was problematic, but still well received overall. And now, after a decade, we return to the island paradise of Kalokairi not only to see the next chapter, but to see how it all began. Does “Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again” “take it all?”

Five years after the events of the first film, Sophie Sheridan is preparing the hotel to reopen in honor of her late mother, Donna. Interwoven with that story, we travel back to the year 1979 and meet young Donna herself, following her as she arrives on the island and her romances with Sophie’s three potential fathers.

The plot of this movie is much improved over the first simply based on the fact that it’s paced better. Nothing feels like it has too much or too little going on, especially the events that take place in the past, which are the more interesting of the bunch. Furthermore, the musical numbers are paced much better, allowing more moments to happen between them. The characters are just as entertaining in the past as the future and arguably more. And best of all, this movie does a much better job of showing real love and affection than the first one did. There is however one character that you could cut from the movie completely and lose pretty much nothing.

All of the returning actors do better with the upgraded material, but the real standout are the newcomers. They did a very good job of finding the perfect actors to portray younger versions of these characters and made it a point to get the mannerisms down. The standout of it all is easily Lily James as young Donna, whose enthusiasm is magnetic. Also, all the actors clearly got singing lessons for this movie as they are noticeably better than the first movie.

The cinematography is actually quite nice and the editing is more solid than I expected. The choreography is also much improved, being tighter and more visually interesting. Everyone also seems to be having more fun with it as well.

Overall, I didn’t expect to enjoy this one as much as I did. “Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again” is just the goofy fun that a musical should be. Go to the theater and “have the time of your life!”