Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again Review Roundup: A Catapulting Role for Lily James

What critics think of the new sequel

By Elyse Dupre Jul 17, 2018 6:42 PMTags

Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again hits theaters July 20, but a few lucky viewers have already gotten a sneak peek of the musical's sequel.

In the new movie, Sophie (played by Amanda Seyfried) seeks relaunch the hotel owned by her mother (Meryl Streep). She's also discovered that she's pregnant.

Her friends and family—including her grandmother (Cher) and three possible fathers (Pierce Brosnan, Stellan Skarsgård and Colin Firth)—travel to the Greek island of Kalokairi to celebrate the launch. 

As she reunites with her fathers, Sophie asks them how they met her mother. Through a series of flashbacks, Sophie learns more about her mother's past and each of the love stories that drove the first film. 

So what did critics think of the movie? Here's a roundup of a few reviews:

Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again's Exuberant First Trailer Debuts—but Where Is Meryl Streep?
Jonathan Prime

"The Mamma Mia movies—yes, there are two now, and don't you forget it—might be the epitome of blue-sky cinema," Vulture's Emily Yoshida writes. "The first one was based on the hit musical (which was itself based on a rosé fever dream of an ABBA Greatest Hits collection,) but transposing its simultaneously libertine and trippily conservative story line to film form, it didn't merely feel like a West End import. The postcard-perfect Greek isles location and plethora of respected actors sporting their holiday tans hailed from very specific kind of light viewing bubble. Here We Go Again replicates that exact same feeling ten years and one or several economic collapses later, a feeling only revved up by the almost complete absence of Meryl Streep and the addition of Cher."

Jonathan Prime

"That first film made me break out in a combination of hives and bubonic plague. And to be honest, this new one does have the original film's plotless melange of feelgoodery, an exotically amorphous jellyfish of a film which is periodically zapped with the million-volt shock of a zingingly brilliant Abba tune," The Guardian's Peter Bradshaw writes. "But something in the sheer relentless silliness and uncompromising ridiculousness of this, combined with a new flavor of self-aware comedy, made me smile in spite of myself: There are funny, campy performances from Cher, Christine Baranski, Julie Walters and also Alexa Davies as Walters's younger self, and some very good lines."

Universal Pictures

"Half sequel, half prequel, and almost entirely disconnected from the film being sold by its trailers, Ol Parker's Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again is an amiable, energetic follow-up to the 2008 smash hit," IndieWire's Kate Erbland writes. "It's also missing its biggest star, Meryl Streep as Donna Sheridan, and her absence is keenly felt. Thank goodness then for Lily James, whose performance as a young version of Streep's irrepressible heroine finally seems like the one to catapult the actress to the next level of her career, while also keeping the dizzy (and dizzying) musical afloat."

Universal Pictures

"But now that there's a Mamma Mia! sequel, it can be said with certainty that the ABBA musical is a form unto itself—a shamelessly innocent (or maybe just shameless) scrapbook pieced together out of the world's most sublime ear candy, a story that sprawls in four directions at once (each subplot seems crafted by a different cookie cutter), an overdose of clowning by middle-aged actors who've been encouraged to take a fearless pride in what raffish physical specimens they've become, all held together by the transcendent classiness of Meryl Streep," Variety's Owen Gleiberman writes.

"Here We Go Again is a bright, cheerful, colorful, large-scale musical montage of gorgeous people singing and dancing to mostly happy tunes," Forbes' Scott Mendelson writes. "You might even say that it's everything you ever want, everything you ever need, right in front of you."

(E! and Universal Pictures are both part of NBCUniversal).