‘Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again’ does not disappoint fans

Sequel continues to elevate female voices

“Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again” hit theaters worldwide over the summer almost exactly 10 years after the iconic original film delighted fans.  The film retained its hype and support weeks after its release, bringing in nearly over 120 million domestically as of September 18, reported Box Office Mojo. The first movie, with its iconic soundtrack of ABBA hits, is the highest-grossing movie musical to date, and the sequel has high hopes to follow. The original soundtrack contains some of ABBA’s greatest hits, such as “Dancing Queen,” “Mamma Mia” and “I Have a Dream.” The second movie reprises all of these, with new additions, becoming new fan favorites. Deleted scenes from the original had their time to shine in the second film, namely “Name of the Game” and “Waterloo.”

The film attracted audiences consisting of older fans of the “Mamma Mia” franchise and new viewers looking for a feel-good movie to see in theaters on a Friday night.

The cast consisted of many returning actors reprising their original roles. The movie opens with Sophie (Amanda Seyfried) singing “Thank You for the Music” while preparing for her hotel opening. She is seen writing letters to her three fathers, which she has adopted into her familial structure in “Mamma Mia,” and then mentions her late mother, Donna Sheridan. Originally played by Meryl Streep, Lily James triumphs as young Donna and completely steals the show. Between acoustics, looks and personality, James truly captures a young Meryl Streep.

The movie shifts settings, while continuing Sophie’s story and expanding upon her mother Donna’s story. The audience is then introduced to Donna’s two best friends and pseudo-godmothers to Sophie, Tanya (Christine Baranski and Jessica Keenan Wynn) and Rosie (Julie Walters and Alexa Davis). The characters have humorous interactions, set in present day with Sophie and also in the past with young Donna. The scene then shifts, and we meet Sophie’s three possible fathers, but from Donna’s point of view. Harry Bright (young Hugh Skinner and older Colin Firth), Bill Anderson (younger Josh Dylan and Stellan Skarsgård), and Sam Carmichael (Jeremy Irvine and Pierce Brosnan) introduce themselves, with numerous great musical scenes with Donna, covering some of ABBA’s best songs.

Throughout the movie, these characters evolve, partially in 2017 and partially in the early 1980s, perfectly reflecting each other. Further into the film, the audience meets Sophie’s grandmother, Ruby (Cher) and her ex-lover Fernando Cien-Fuentes (Andy Garcia) as they meet again after 50 years and sing “Fernando,” one of the most heartful and comical scenes in the movie.

Seyfried (Sophie) played her character with an air of maturity and growth, compared to her original role. Her loveable smile and light-hearted singing made audiences beam. Similarly, Walters/Davies (Rosie) and Baranski/Wynn (Tanya) received the most laughs from the audience,, perfectly capturing the essence of Rosie and Tanya throughout time. Their chemistry, the flamboyant and beautiful costumes as well as pitch perfect acting allowed audiences to feel captivated by their performance. They captured the youthful essence of best friends, as well as the lively lifestyle of the 80s. Brosnan, Firth, Skarsgård, Irvine, Skinner and Dylan all had extreme reactions from the audience, whether hate, love or laughter. Finally, James plays the young Donna Sheridan, and between her vocals as the character or the endearing nature and livelihood of her story, she has gained much love and attention from fans and castmates, specifically Meryl Streep, who said James was “perfect” as young Donna, according to Daily Mail.

The film attracts the obvious theater fan crowd but also pulls in the female audience for its casual empowerment of women. While maintaining lighthearted themes and entertaining musical numbers, there are underlying themes of sex positivity and womanism. These progressive themes can be attributed to the fact that the musical “Mamma Mia,” was written by British playwright Catherine Johnson, known for “Mamma Mia.”  Movies produced by and for women are subsequently not solely focused on the male gaze, which continually objectifies women in media. This lack of male gaze empowers women and the film displays feminist themes. More movies such as “Mamma Mia” deserve to have such attention, as a move away from movies designed specifically for the viewing pleasure of men will be a gradual but powerful change for audiences of all genders.