Small spoilers ahead. Audiences feeling blue and brokenhearted since the day they departed theaters after seeing Mamma Mia! take heart — the crew is back and bigger than ever with a sequel that expands on the past and present of all the original characters. The first film ended with a wedding bait and switch: free-spirited mom Donna and one of daughter Sophie's three potential fathers Sam getting hitched, while bride-to-be Sophie admits to her fiancé Sky she's not ready for marriage. The young couple take off to sail around the world, but did Sophie and Sky get married after Mamma Mia!, or did Sophie follow in her mother's footsteps and remain unhitched?
That's the crux of the entire second film, with Sophie reflecting on how different and alike she and her mother were in similar situations. Opening five years later, Sophie's taken over the (now-deceased) Donna's villa on the fake Greek island of Kalokairi. Like her mother before her, Sophie finds herself unexpectedly pregnant, but lacks Donna's fearlessness. Sophie and Sky's relationship has become turbulent, and Sophie's unsure if she can weather the storm alone. The film weaves together Donna's past with Sophie's present, highlighting Sophie's loss of her mother on the brink of becoming one herself.
It's never made clear whether she and Sky were married in the intervening five years, and though there's a slender ring on her hand, Sophie sports it on her middle finger. It's just like how her mother wore her chunkier, bolder ones in Mamma Mia!.
The more important issue isn't whether the couple is legally, but emotionally bound, as a number of large life decisions loom. At the movie's start, Sky isn't even on the island, but in NYC taking a six-week course in hotel management. Separation during pregnancy would be hard enough on any couple, but Sky's been offered, and is considering taking, a job in the city. That would completely upend Sophie's plan to renovate her mother's villa into a world-class exclusive luxury resort... or start the two of them on separate paths.
And it's not like Sophie's truly alone; her mother's extended family and friends slowly arrive on the island for the villa's grand reopening to comfort her. Much like an ABBA album, the film veers between pop-effervescence and bittersweet regret, with Donna's absence felt by everyone except the audience, who gets to enjoy her in her prime (as played and sung by Lily James). And when it comes to Sophie and Sky's relationship, absence apparently does make the heart grow fonder, as the two of them reconcile by the movie's end.
Those who were expecting a splashy on-screen wedding, you'd do far better to watch another movie, because Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again never confirms or finalizes that Sky and Sophie went to the chapel. However, audiences get something far superior to a big screen bride trundling down the aisle — Cher, making a fabulous appearance instead in all-white as Sophie's estranged grandmother, bringing the mother-daughter cycle some closure.
So while no one says "I Do I Do I Do I Do I Do" in this ABBA sequel, there's thankfully still a big party to celebrate the hotel's grand re-opening, and everyone's invited.