Review – Mamma Mia!: Here We Go Again!

Mamma Mia!: Here We Go Again! [rating=4]

It will probably come as no surprise to anyone that a sequel to 2008’s summer hit ‘Mamma Mia!’ would be made after grossing over $600 million at the global box office. However when news broke that the film would actually be a prequel and a sequel many were a bit anxious – and rightfully so. When casting announcements were made for the roles of younger versions of Donna and her friends, people started to worry if the fan favourite character had died between the events of the first film and the follow-up. How would they make another without the amazing Donna? The world demands more Donna!

Taking place five years after the events of the first film, the sequel takes us back to the beautiful island of Kalokairi, where Sophie (Amanda Seyfried) is preparing for the grand re-opening of Donna’s (Meryl Streep) farmhouse hotel, Bella Donna. Through her husband Sam (Pierce Brosnan) and her oldest friends Rosie (Julie Walters) and Tanya (Christine Baranski), we get to see more of Donna’s past in a series of flashback scenes as they recount their memories of her in 1979.

Mamma Mia!: Here We Go Again! is every bit as goofy and energetic as it’s predecessor, with a big ol’ heap of emotion mixed in between it’s fun scenes. I was sceptical myself about how the past and present transitions in the film would work, but it does so seamlessly throughout the duration and nothing feels out of place. Although the film is missing it’s biggest star for the most part, Lily James is fantastic in her role as a younger Donna, bringing just as much energy to the character as Streep has. Newcomers Jeremy Irvine, Hugh Skinner and Josh Dylan asSam, Harry and Bill with Jessica Keenan Wynn and Alexa Davies portraying younger versions of Tanya and Rosie were all perfect choices for the character’s younger selves. Each clearly had a good understanding of the character they were playing and adopted the mannerisms and behaviours of their older counterparts brilliantly when brining them to life. All the returning cast were just as brilliant in the sequel as they were in the first film too, bringing the same feel good atmosphere to the screen that made the first such a hit. Cher appears as Sophie’s estranged diva grandmother Ruby and Andy Garcia as her old love Fernando are, although not in the film a whole lot, great additions to the cast and soundtrack.
I really was pleasantly surprised by how this follow-up turned out, especially since I never really felt another film necessary. The cast is great once more, it has a great soundtrack, a surprising amount of emotion, humour and although not as much as we’d like, it has Streep back in some of the film’s most heartfelt scenes. Really the only criticism I have is that some of the songs featured are shoehorned in there for the sake of it and  that sometimes felt off.
Overall Mamma Mia!: Here We Go Again! is a great follow-up to the original film, giving fans a glimpse into Donna’s past and is sure to be the feel good film of the summer that will have you dancing in the aisles.