Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again
This was such a fun film! It definitely had flaws (lots!) and is nowhere as good as the 2008 film, and also lacked the insane energy and chemistry of the original cast, but it was such an irresistible, feel-good crowdpleaser. Great ABBA songs (though most of the big hits have already been used in the first film) with good actor-singers (Lilly James, Amanda Seyfried and Hugh Skinner), kitschy choreography, a touch of sappiness and rom-com hijinks, Cher!, Meryl!, and just a general feeling of happiness and that all is right in the world. Pure escapism entertainment. All these despite the very obvious cheap sets/production values, a lack of a real plot per se - more like a collection of vignettes stitched together for 114 minutes - and Cher just phoning it in and blatantly edited into the scenes (but god-damn it! It's Cher).
James and Seyfried were undeniably the lead in this outing. James held the screen with an effortless charm and she continued to ease her way into major stardom. Her onscreen charisma with the three younger-Dads were believable, however the chemistry with her young-bffs paled in comparison with the wicked fun Streep, Christine Baranski and Julie Walters had 10 years ago.
Seyfried, on the other hand, not only had less material to work with, she also had less scene partners to spar with. Her moments with Baranski and Walters only served to highlight how she ain't no Meryl.
As for Cher and Streep, there is a reason why "with" follows the former and "and" the latter in the poster...'nuff said.
Baranski and Walters were one of the highlights of the first film, a pity that they were under-served here. Who could forget Baranski's beach-side rendition of "Does Your Mama Know"?
As for the men, the oldies - Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth and Stellen Skarsgard - were still as funny as they were then, with Firth getting the most laughs. Pity - or lucky in Brosnan's case - not much singing from them. Then we have the young ones - Jeremy Irvine, Hugh Skinner and Josh Dylan - who despite not bearing much resemblance to their later-selves were still very much like them. And they can sing.
In all, writer/director Ol Parker did a commendable job in continuing the story and maintaining the spirit of the first film despite a seemingly smaller budget and more limited song choices. Also, stay till the end for an end-credits stinger.