Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (2018)

A large crowd of men and women standing on a wooden pier.
One for you to take a chance on?

Director: Ol Parker
Running Time: 114 Minutes
Starring: Amanda Seyfried, Meryl Streep, Lily James, Dominic Cooper, Christine Baranski, Jessica Keenan Wynn, Julie Walters, Alexa Davies, Pierce Brosnan, Jeremy Irvine, Colin Firth, Hugh Skinner, Stellan Skarsgård, Josh Dylan, Andy García, Cher, Omid Djalili, Celia Imrie, Maria Vacratsis

When it comes to 2008's Mamma Mia!, there's a clear divide between those who gave it a viewing. Whether you were swept along in the fun, or weren't a fan (I fell into the latter category), it's undeniable there was a reason so many enjoyed watching this assembled cast singing the hits of ABBA. Thus, as is the tradition with just about anything which endures popularity over time, of course a sequel was given the go ahead. With a change in director, and many additions to the cast, we're left with something that will please returning fans, and may just win over those who weren't taken with the previous film (it certainly won this reviewer over).

Five years after the events of the previous film, Sophie (Amanda Seyfried) is preparing for the opening of her mother's renovated hotel, as well as an unexpected pregnancy. Meanwhile, the film flashes back to 1979, depicting how her mother, Donna (Lily James), ended up on the island of Kalokairi, crossed paths with Sophie's three potential fathers, and thus became pregnant.

Image result for mamma mia here we go again youtubeWhether the film could've served as a sequel or a prequel, taking The Godfather Part II approach actually works to its benefit. By balancing both of the stories, they're each given a suitable length which doesn't stretch out the occurrences for longer than necessary, while allowing for nice parallels between mother and daughter, as Sophie goes through situations not dissimilar to young Donna. It also helps that both stories are engrossing, with terrific performances going into these characters we've grown attached to.

When it comes to the musical moments, they're a notable improvement this time around. The returning members who were, shall we say, vocally grating, don't give solo performances this time around (or at least for not too long). Instead, they're part of the group musical numbers, while centre stage is given to the new cast additions, who are more than up to the task of singing the various hits of ABBA, while performing great choreography and fun set-pieces. But director Ol Parker knows when to lessen these moments, in order to focus on the emotional aspects, and they certainly hit their mark.

An infectiously fun, yet emotionally engaging, way to spend 2 hours, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again will leave you with a smile on your face. It'll definitely work for those who loved the previous outing, and may just surprise those who weren't fans.