Review of Mama Mia 2: Here We Go Again
Review by Benjamin Allen Dickson
I went into this film not knowing what to expect at all. I feel pretty neutral about the first Mamma Mia film; there are lots of parts I really enjoy and lots of parts I dislike, but overall the first film for me is the antithesis of a 5/10 film. The pros and cons completely outweigh each other. But this is not a review of the first Mamma Mia film; in fact, this is a review of the pre-sequel. Let me start off by saying this might be the only film I have seen that is simultaneously a prequel and a sequel at the same time. Some of it works and some of it really doesn’t. This movie is almost frustrating to me because so many small tweaks could have made this a really great musical.
I’ll start with the positives. The songs in this film were fun, bouncy and visually interesting to look at, not in camera angles but in the spectacle. This film feels much more like a stage performance than the first film, and the campiness really adds to the tone of the film. I almost wish it went even more campier because that’s what really sold the movie for me, the silliness of it. The first film had shots that looked like a sitcom, then shots that looked like a play, then shots that looked like an average direct-for-hire film, but this one fixes it. For the most part, this film nails the look it should have.
My problems with the film lie in its execution. I love the semi-nonlinear storytelling, but the stories they chose to tell were so boring. It felt so quaint and unimportant, even more so than the first film. The film felt rushed together, like they had to make it work somehow. I appreciate that they didn’t do a “Oh it’s 10 years later and now my daughter is getting married” thing, but also, why even tell this story? Do we need to know how Donna met these men? Do we need to see what Amanda Seyfried was doing after the events of the first movie? No, the first one ends pretty well. I’m worried we’ll have a fucking Mamma Mia Cinematic Universe like Star Wars or something, where they start making whole films off throwaway lines in the first movies. But let’s forgive that for a second, sure the plot doesn’t need to be important, it’s Mamma Mia right? It’s all about the spectacle! Sure, but the spectacle has no meaning when there is no backbone. It’s beautiful at times, but so forgettable because it has no context it’s like a circus. I saw this movie yesterday, and I already forgot a lot of it.
I honestly think I expected too much from this film. When I saw that they were doing flashbacks intertwined with the main storyline, I was excited, thinking they might blend together somehow, like they meet each other and it becomes this surreal Lynchian masterpiece. But I forgot I was watching a Mamma Mia movie — these are movies that moms are supposed to love. They can’t do anything unique or original because the suburban housewife audience doesn’t like to be weirded out or challenged; they just want rich white women living in Greece fucking and singing 70s pop songs, which could be really great in the hands of a great filmmaker, but alas, Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again is not. It’s not a bad movie, it’s got some fun musical numbers, but overall it’s just forgettable missed potential.
THIS FILM GETS A………………………………………… 5/10