Critics love 'Mamma Mia 2,' but trashed the original when it came out 10 years ago

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Despite a painfully self-aware title, Greece in green screen, and very little Meryl Streep, critics love “Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again.”

2008’s “Mamma Mia!,” based on the 1999 musical of the same name, is a musical comedy featuring music from ABBA. The movie, starring Meryl Streep, Amanda Seyfried, Pierce Brosnan, Stellan Skarsgård, and Colin Firth wasn’t a hit with critics, with a 54% on Rotten Tomatoes.

But it was a box-office hit, and audiences loved it as much as they loved the hit Broadway musical. The movie made $US615 million on a $US52 million budget, and was the fifth-highest-grossing film in 2008. “Mamma Mia!” follows a young woman about to be married in Greece who wants to find out who her real father is before the wedding.

Exactly ten years later down to the week, “Here We Go Again” is gaining the same positive attention it got a decade ago. Except now, with an 89% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, critics love it, despite its flaws. Critics love the music, Cher, and Lily James, who plays the young version of Streep’s character, Donna.

Here’s what critics are saying about “Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again”:

“It mostly succeeds in its own glittery, aggressively winsome way…”

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Leah Greenblatt, Entertainment Weekly

“Swede Jesus, they have done it.”

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Johnny Oleksinski, New York Post

“It’s as if you were watching the CliffsNotes to an old studio weeper that happened to be carried along by some of the most luscious pop songs ever recorded. Yet the feeling comes through, especially at the end…”

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Owen Gleiberman, Variety

“If you don’t like ABBA, spandex and glitter, it will still make you come out in hives but there is a sizeable enough part of the audience with a high tolerance for just such a mixture.”

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Geoffrey Macnab, The Independent

“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.”

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Kate Erbland, IndieWire

“‘Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again’ is a delightful array of music, humour, and heart. A rare sequel/prequel that outshines the original.”

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Scott Menzel, We Live Entertainment

“Mamma Mia remains implausible, unlikely and utterly glorious. Who can ask for anything more, as they might sing themselves.”

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Jan Moir, Daily Mail (UK)

“You’ll cackle at Christine Baranski’s crackling dialogue, cry when Meryl sings ‘My Love, My Life’, and when all is said and done you might even be tempted to go again.”

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Ben Travis, Empire Magazine

“People are always running absurdly around a Greek island waving their arms in the air like they just don’t care and it’s always sunny, except when – gasp! – there’s a storm and plans for the relaunch of a tourist hotel are briefly and unimportantly derailed. This film reminded me weirdly in its staging of Kenneth Branagh‘s 90s film version of Much Ado About Nothing, with its golden southern European hues and beaming cast. There’s the same bizarre plot convolutions and holiday-romance departure from reality.”

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Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian

“Yet, ‘Here We Go Again’ isn’t so much a sequel or a prequel but an expansion of canon, with a musical number thrown in every few minutes for good measure. The movie seems to exist to provide answers to questions I’m not sure need answering: Like, why Donna ended up on the Greek island of Kalokairi. Or how she came to own her first pair of overalls.”

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John Boone, Entertainment Tonight

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