From the first moments, it’s clear that the only reason this movie exists is to make money: The color palette is nauseatingly bright, the dialogue seems focus-tested and deprived of any real meaning beyond the transitory, and the ABBA songs that make up the musical segments are mostly underwhelming. It’s particularly galling how the movie constantly re-assesses the events of the first movie (including changing the geography of its setting and some of the characters’ backstories), while also straining to make the leftover ABBA hits fit into its narrative. There are entire segments and characters that feel forced (like Andy Garcia’s arc, for instance), and the movie’s one-dimensional reverence for Meryl Streep’s Donna (played here by a cloying Lily James, who functions less like a character and more like a collection of quirks and empty smiles) quickly becomes tiresome. There are some scenes here and there that are entertaining, but the whole movie is overlong and unnecessary.
Rating: ★★ (out of 5)