Movie Review: Mama Mia! Here We Go Again (2018)

by StevenHelmer

A review of the 2018 musical starring Amanda Seyfried and Lily James.

Synopsis: A year after Donna's death, her daughter, Sophie tries to honor her legacy by reopening the resort she had started. As relationship issues and potentially disastrous weather threaten to spoil her big event, Sophie learns more about the adventure that led to her mother coming to Kalokairi and her relationship with Sophie's three fathers.


I am actually a big fan of the first Mama Mia! movie and have watched in on more than one occasion. That's why, when I learned their was a sequel coming out, I was definitely interested. However, since I also had some doubts about it, I did wait until it came out on DVD before taking the time to watch it.

My wife and I did just that this past weekend. As I expected, it wasn't quite as good as the original. However, it still turned out to be entertaining.

When I realized a very large part of this movie was going to be told in flashback form, I was worried I wouldn't enjoy it that much. But, I have to admit, Lily James was pretty awesome as the young Donna.

In particular, I loved how she brought some much-needed energy to a film that otherwise might have run the risk of being very depressing, especially when Sophie (Seyfried) kept focusing on how much she missed her deceased mother (Streep) and the various events that were threatening her ability to honor her. And, it was interesting seeing, in detail, the series of events that led to Donna's confusion about who Sophie's father was.

That being said, I did find myself missing Meryl Streep as we watched this film. While I'm not sure you could have made the same movie without Donna being dead in present times and the ensemble cast did an OK job trying to make up for her absence, there just seemed to be a big hole that just wasn't filled by her short cameo at the end. Part of the reason for this, I think, is it required Seyfried to take on an even larger role than she had in the original. While I like Seyfried, asking her to fill the void left by a 3-time Academy Award winner is expecting a lot.

Also not helping this film was the fact the original did use up the majority of ABBA's best songs, leaving this movie to use mostly scraps. I'm not saying the leftover songs weren't good. But, most of them honestly weren't as catchy as the songs from the original. In fact, the songs from this movie that stuck in my head were the few better-known songs that were used in both films.

Final Opinion

I did enjoy the movie and would recommend it. However, like most sequels, it didn't quite live up to the standards set by the original film.

My Grade: B

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Updated: 01/28/2019, StevenHelmer
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DerdriuMarriner on 01/15/2022

StevenHelmer, Thank you for practical information, pretty pictures and product lines.
Me too, I agree with you and your wife about problems with sequels, which holds for the two Mama Mia movies.

It's difficult to follow up on Meryl Streep's dramatic, physical and vocal gymnastics. But everybody all made a praiseworthy effort.

The film in many ways seemed way more about the young Donna than about the grieving daughter. Would it have worked better as a trilogy, with a prequel about the young Donna and the sequel allowing Sophie much more time therefore?

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