Universal Pictures has done it again with the new sequel to the 2008 hit musical Mamma Mia, with Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again! The sequel touches upon the aftermath of the first movie, but in this case a crucial character has been killed off and the rest must mourn and cope.
Warning: Plot Spoilers Below for Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again!
The plot of Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again! is that Donna Sheridan has passed away, and her daughter Sophie is grown up living an adult life with her husband Sky (Dominic Cooper). She took it upon her to rebuild the hotel on Kalokairi called the Bella Donna. From the first movie, we know that Sophie has possibly three fathers including Sam Carmichael (Pierce Brosnan), Bill Anderson (Stellan Skarsgård), and Harry Bright (Colin Firth). With the help of her mother’s friends from the Dynamos including Tanya Chesham-Leigh (Christine Baranski) and Rosie Mulligan (Julie Walters) she is able to cope with her life without Donna.
What we also learn is the movie does a TON of flashbacks to a young Donna graduating from University of Oxford in 1979, and having her relationships with young Sam (Jeremy Irvine), Bill (Josh Dylan), and Harry (Hugh Skinner). We finally see her side of the story from the 70s/80s, and how it became possible for Sophie to have three fathers. Included are also younger versions of Donna (Lily James), Tanya (Jessica Keenan Wynn), and Rosie (Alexa Davies).
A new character that was just introduced to the franchise is Sophie’s grandmother named Ruby, who was also a singer. It’s implied that Ruby was to busy in Las Vegas doing her shows to spend time with her granddaughter, let alone her own daughter; but is now committed to being a grandmother and great-grandmother. The character is played by none other famous singer, Cher.
Bringing with her new character is her forlorn love interest, Fernando Cienfuegos, who Sophie hires to manage the Bella Donna hotel. It’s noted throughout the film that Fernando had a love interest many years ago that left him, and by a flashback with younger Donna that her mother’s been distant since she lost her love in Latin America.
Aside from the new characters, the plot progresses when Sophie discovers that she’s pregnant with Sky’s child, and although she’s alone without her mother, she understands that she can handle it because she has her baby there for her; just like she was there for Donna. Sophie uses her pregnancy as a coping mechanism after losing her mother a year before, and understanding that she’s in the same place where her mother had her.
After watching the new film, I understand why they had to remove Donna’s present character portrayed by Meryl Streep from the franchise to make more plot progression. Going from the first film, there’s no further plot to create aside from discovering which father is truly Sophie’s; which would ruin the plot and friendship that was created at the end of the first movie.
The music in this film is exclusively ABBA, with included instrumental versions of their songs. Having Benny Andersson alongside Björn Ulvaeus from ABBA working on the movie verified that ABBA was present and gave contributions to the lyrics and songs being performed in the musical.
Some songs in the movie that are fresh to the Mamma Mia movie soundtrack include “Angel Eyes”, “Fernando”, “Knowing Me, Knowing You”, “Why Did It Have to Be Me?”, and “When I Kissed the Teacher”.
The songs continue through both the present time in Mamma Mia alongside the flashbacks with the young Dynamos. Even there’s an end credits song featuring the entire cast in their performance garb to “Super Trooper”.
If you’re into ABBA and the original Mamma Mia movie, you’ll find the sequel to be just as enjoyable from a soundtrack view. There are some repeated songs from the first movie including “Super Trooper”, “Mamma Mia”, and “Waterloo”.
As with most musicals, there’s dancing – and Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again! is no different! The new and old cast get their dancing shoes on for all the ABBA songs, and the movie is beautifully choreographed for every song. For an example, in “Waterloo” we find both Harry and Donna in a restaurant themed after the French and Napoleon, and take full advantage of their surroundings. There’s a sword fight with baguettes, a Napoleon hat, and of course dancing between the two characters that perfectly matches the music.
It’s difficult to compare both Mamma Mia and Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again! together. They are the same type of movie in the same franchise, and they both have fantastic music numbers that feature talented singers along with the same cast. While the original movie provided one a new-age musical about a young woman who slept with too many men, the second one provides a heartfelt story about loss and love, and discovering how to be on your own. There are so many aspects about the movies that intertwine, and I can honestly say that after watching the original since 2008, I can say this is a perfect sequel, that unfortunately took 10 years to create.
Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again! was such a spot-on musical romance/comedy movie, that had young flashback cast members that complimented their original characters, and gave audiences an emotional roller-coaster of laughing and crying. While we knew where the story would take us in Donna’s young perspective, the plot was filled in and all questions were answered except who is really Sophie’s father, and honestly at this point we couldn’t care.
Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again! is currently playing in theaters around the world after the release on July 20th 2018. Watch it now, and get ABBA forever stuck in your head. If you’re simply curious before watching, the entire soundtrack for the movie can be found on Spotify.