Now, I know what everyone reading this post is gonna say…here we go again. Another bad movie musical with stars who can’t sing and a plot weaved around songs instead of the other way around. However, these sentiments couldn’t be more wrong when it comes to this movie.
I, as were most people who see this, a fan of the first movie. What is it a theatrical masterpiece? No. Did it deserve nominations of any kind? Probably not. Should Pierce Brosnan be allowed to sing in a movie ever again? DEFINITELY not. But that is not the point. The point of the first Mamma Mia! was to bring pure, unbridled joy to those who viewed it. And man, did it ever! I was in middle school when the movie came out, and there is not a person my age I know who doesn’t love that movie. “Dancing Queen” was blasted at every sleepover I attended. We loved it not for its musical quality, but how it made us feel.
Enter the sequel. I had high expectations for this, even though I had absolutely no reason to. This movie had no fixed plot like the first movie did, since the first was based on the Broadway musical. Without spoiling anything, the new movie is split in half between Donna’s life before Sophie is born and Sophie’s life as she attempts to reopen her mother’s inn. Additionally, most of ABBA’s major hits were used in the first movie. Would they repeat songs? Use some deep cuts? Or even write original music? And biggest question of all: the joy factor. It had to be high to meet or beat the first movie. It needed to be funny, touching, and enough to make you leave the theater with an enormous grin.
The movie did everything I hoped it would and more. Lily James is electrifying as a young Donna, trying to find herself and travel the world. All of her potential suitors were perfectly cast as well, as they matched the personalities of their older counterparts. All of the original cast members make an appearance and stay true to their original parts. And of course…there’s Cher. Ultimate bonus points.
Between you me and the ghostlight, I’m seeing it again this weekend. No, seriously. I am. And you should too! Go take a joy ride.