These albums remind me a lot of the Mamma Mia movies. The Summer Album, aka the first Mamma Mia movie, is a lot of fun, but all subsequent albums just fail to recapture the magic. Yes, that’s right, I enjoy the first Mamma Mia movie. It’s a film so ridiculous and nonsensical that it really shouldn’t work, and an argument could be made that it definitely doesn’t (let’s be real, it’s a bad movie), but if you strap yourself in knowing what’s to come, you’ll be hard-pressed not to enjoy it. Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again is the So Fresh Winter Album. There are some good songs throughout, but I’m not going to rush about to buy it.
In fact, everyone in this cast absolutely nails their characters. Most are just along for the ride, such as the three dads Stellan Skarsgård (whose introduction is utterly incredible), Colin Firth and Pierce Brosnan, but they’re all having fun. And, as always, the shared dynamic between Julie Walters and MVP Christine Branski is impossible not to love. Even their younger counterparts, played by Jessica Keenan Wynn and Alexa Davies, knock it out of the park as the unapologetic, man-hungry singers we’ve grown to love. However, given the fact that they don’t meet the three dads until the first film comes around, they’re given very little to do.
An attempt is made at bringing dramatic edge to the sequel, but it doesn’t work. Characters are established as wanting to go their own way, leading to numerous phone arguments and songs reflecting on a past gone by, but it’s all dropped without consequence halfway through, making the elongated introduction all the more tedious and unfulfilling to sit through. Hey, at least the scene transitions look cool. But worst of all, once the melodrama is dropped, you start to realise that this film has accomplished literally nothing in its near two-hour runtime. I’ve seen some unnecessary sequels in my time, but goddamn, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again might have them all beat.
It’s the lack of Mery Streep, and the constant reminder that she’s not here, that really sinks this ship. Her absence is sorely missed, both by the characters and the audience. Yes, as promised, she does make a momentary appearance, but don’t expect anything memorable or emotionally satisfying. In a film where literally nothing happens for two hours, a little bit more of Meryl Streep wouldn’t have hurt. But hey, we can’t always get what we want. I’m sure this film will find its audience, perhaps the same audience who enjoy reminding me how wrong I was about The Greatest Showman, but this audience isn’t me. Still, I’m going to have a hard time getting ABBA songs out of my head for the next year.
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