A refreshing change of pace in the onslaught of summer blockbusters.

Back in 2008 Mamma Mia! became a box office sensation at the British box office.

Ten years later (yes, it has been that long) a sequel that you may not have expected is here and there is a huge buzz around it. How do I know? Because I spent thirty minutes queuing up for tickets – only to be told that the next six screenings were sold out!

Eventually I got myself into a screening. Was it worth the wait?

This sequel/prequel to the movie musical adaption of the beloved theatre production tells the story of Sophie (played by Amanda Seyfried). She’s still on the Greek island, mourning the death of her mother Donna (Meryl Streep) while planning a huge party to re-launch the hotel.

While preparing for the big event, the film keeps cutting back to the late seventies. We see a young Donna (played by Baby Driver’s Lily James) who has just graduated from university and hungry for adventure. She heads to Greece, via Paris, and in that short time she meets the younger versions of Colin Firth, Stellan Skarsgård and Pierce Brosnan.

These flashbacks don’t really add anything to the story. In fact, it’s all pretty straight forward – but that’s okay – nobody is walking into a Mamma Mia sequel expecting an Oscar worthy story.

So . . . to answer the question on everyone’s lips: “Does Pierce Brosnan sing?” Yes, I’m afraid so. Apparently they didn’t learn the first time round, but fear not, he doesn’t sing much. It’s actually the music that is this film’s biggest failing – which isn’t good considering this is a musical.

The music in the first instalment made the movie what it was – a huge hit. With all the big songs already featured in the first, the filmmakers obviously had a dilemma on their hands. What they ended up doing was throwing in songs that very few of us would have heard mixed in with the big hits that we’d already heard in the first, and when that happened, it just reminded me of how much better the first movie was.

In fact, this whole movie is full of reminders of the original. For example, Meryl Streep is mentioned throughout this entire film, and every time I heard her name, I just kept thinking how much this sequel suffered from not having her as the lead. She carried that first movie.

I can’t help but feel the trailer was quite misleading. If you’re expecting Sophie’s fathers to feature heavily, they don’t. And if you’re thinking her Grandma (played by Cher) has a big part – again, she doesn’t. Clearly a lot of the stars struggled to get much time off to appear in this film – resulting in a lot of key characters feeling more like cameo appearances.

There is a lot at fault here, but what I will say is that I enjoyed it nonetheless. Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again is sweet and gooey. It’s basically ‘marshmallow’. Considering my last few reviews have been films like The Purge, Hereditary and Jurassic World – marshmallow is exactly what was needed.

If you enjoy marshmallow – and by that I mean glitter, spandex and big musical numbers – then you should enjoy this.

If you don’t like your films to be quite so sweet, and you didn’t like the original this probably should be avoided – if you did though, Mamma Mia, does it show again? My my, just how much I’ve missed you.

Mikey Clarke

[youtube id=”XcSMdhfKga4″ width=”600″ height=”350″] 

Cast: Amanda Seyfried, Lily James, Meryl Streep, Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth, Cher, Andy Garcia, Alexa Davies, Jessica Keenan Wynn, Josh Dylan, Jeremy Irvine, Stellan Skarsgard, Hugh Skinner, Dominic Cooper, Julie Walters, Celia Imrie & Christine Baranski

Running Time: 1 Hr 54 Mins

Director: Ol Parker

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