ENTERTAINMENT
17/07/2018 09:01 BST | Updated 17/07/2018 09:48 BST

'Mamma Mia 2' Review: It's Unashamedly Joyous, Cheesy And Totally Has Our Approval - HuffPost Verdict

Cher, ABBA deep cuts and '70s costumes. What's not to love?

Universal

K E Y   P O I N T S

  • ‘Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again’ comes 10 years after the original film and sees the whole cast return 
  • Set five years after the first movie, the sequel sees Sophie (Amanda Seyfried) trying to fulfill her mother’s dream of opening a hotel on the island of Kalokairi and struggling with marital problems
  • Flashbacks lift the lid on Donna’s (Meryl Streep) younger years, revealing how she met Bill, Harry and Sam 
  • The legacy cast is joined by a host of newcomers who play younger versions of their characters; among them are Lily James as Donna, Jessica Keenan Wynn as Tanya and Jeremy Irvine as Sam. 
  • Another new addition to the cast is Cher, who deserves a bullet point of her own.

S N A P   V E R D I C T

If you’ve bought a ticket to see ‘Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again’, then chances are, you already know what you’ve signed up for. Unless you’re being dragged along by a longtime fan of the first film, ABBA or the stage musical then you know the drill and what to expect: And the resulting film will not disappoint. 

The first movie used up many of ABBA’s most recognisable songs, and the sequel repeats just a few of these (namely the title track and ‘I Have A Dream’), benefitting from the fact the writers had to dig a little deeper into the band’s archive.

Opener ‘When I Kissed The Teacher’ sets the unashamedly joyous and, as expected, cheesy tone of the film. It introduces us to young Donna - played by Lily James, who manages to embody Donna completely and put her own stamp on a role that belongs to Meryl Streep - and her two pals, Tanya (Jessica Keenan Wynn) and Rosie (Alexa Davies), who have the best costumes of the bunch with their ’70s wardrobe. 

The story then flicks between Donna’s youth and the present day, a year since her death, and Sophie is about to open a hotel in her mother’s name (you’ll find out about her death early in the film, although Meryl does star later).

Obviously, Sophie faces a few problems along the way, but don’t expect any edge-of-your-seat twists and turns. Far more interesting is the story of how young Donna met Sophie’s three possible dads, a tale that takes us from Oxford to Greece, with stop-offs in Paris and on Bill’s boat along the way. 

The only plot point that feels like a misstep is when young Harry (Hugh Skinner) asks Donna to take his virginity, with an admittedly very spirited rendition of ‘Waterloo’ convincing her that bedding him is a good idea. It’s odd, but you’ll get past it.

When it comes to the “legacy” cast, Christine Baranski and Julie Walters are on typically fine form, sharing all the best one-liners, while Pierce Brosnan (thankfully...) has less singing to do than the original. 

And then there’s Cher. Actual. Real-life. Cher.

The legend’s much-hyped star turn in the film starts far too late for our liking but when she arrives, well, she arrives. We’ve all seen the trailer and know that helicopter entrance, but from there, things just get better and better. Together with Andy Garcia, she delivers a stunning rendition of ‘Fernando’ and after being estranged for years, builds bridges with grand-daughter Sophie in record time.

But how important is all of this? The answer is not very.

Cast your minds back to 2008, when the first film was routinely bashed by critics.The New Yorker said watching it was “torture” and the Guardian’s critic wrote: “No film has ever had a more irrelevant story.” ‘Mamma Mia!’ went on to gross $615 million worldwide and the soundtrack album topped the charts in 15 countries.

‘Mamma Mia! 2’ has our approval, but it doesn’t need it, it’s destined to delight audiences and rake in the cash anyway.

B E S T   T R A C K S

‘Angel Eyes’ 

‘Andante, Andante’

‘Super Trouper’

‘Fernando’ 

B E S T   L I N E S

Tanya, spotting a hot guy:

Be still, my beating vagina."

A local bar owner when young Sam gets ditched:

It's called karma and it's pronounced HA!"

W A T C H   T H E   T R A I L E R