Published on April 2nd, 2014 | by Chris Scott0
Muppets Most Wanted Review
Summary: When compared directly to the last film, nearly everything in Muppets Most Wanted is a letdown.
The 2011 film, The Muppets, was the perfect reboot to the long standing Henson property. It hit just the right notes of nostalgia for those of us that grew up with Kermit and company, but it also provided a great entry point for a new generation of viewers. They were brought up to date with love and care by actor/writer Jason Segal as a passion project and every moment of the film showcased his deep seeded love of the franchise. All together it translated into a box-office renaissance for The Muppets and put them back in the public consciousness. Inevitably, and rightly so, Disney was going to push for a sequel.
That sequel is Muppets Most Wanted and, sadly, it doesn’t deliver the same quantity or quality of laughs that its predecessor did. Worse yet, the film itself knows this and tells you upfront, via the intro song, that it isn’t going to be nearly as good as the last run.
Picking up directly after the events of The Muppets, Muppets Most Wanted sees the gang not sure of what their future holds after having gotten the Muppet Theater back. Enter talent agent Dominic Badguy (played by Ricky Gervais) who convinces the Muppets to go on a tour to support their newfound relevancy. Of course Badguy has ulterior motives that mostly relate to his boss, Constantine, “The World’s Most Dangerous Frog”. Constantine has close resemblance to Kermit and after tricking Interpol into arresting Kermit, he pretends to be The Muppet leader but with a cold. All of this is done to facilitate a handful of robberies that will take place next to where The Muppets are putting on their shows.
Personally I found the identity switch to be somewhat funny at first but as the film continued it lost its appeal for me. This caused large patches of the film to feel rather slow and somewhat dull. While Constantine messes up the dynamic of the Muppets as a group, Kermit is left to fend for himself in a Siberian Gulag run by Nadya (Tina Fey). Fey is great in nearly every scene she is in, showcasing an enthusiasm that the rest of the film often lacks. Unfortunately Kermit is literally left to rot in the prison, often playing second fiddle to Fey or one of the other human prisoners (including Danny Trejo playing himself). Muppets Most Wanted is a Muppet movie, and as such The Muppets themselves shouldn’t be boring. Aside from a few songs and some jokes, the film mostly is.
It is almost like the creators of this film looked at the past success and decided to just layer on more, more, more. There are more cameos. There are more songs. There are more explosions. But when compared directly to the last film, nearly everything in Muppets Most Wanted is a letdown. The music isn’t as charming. The writing isn’t as funny. And worst of all, the film feels like we’ve been there done that before as many aspects seem like they were either reused or leftover from the far superior 1981 film, The Great Muppet Caper, that similarly deals with a high profile jewel heist.
Leaving Muppets Most Wanted I was disappointed. These weren’t the Muppets I wanted and I guess that is OK. After all, I do have 30 plus years of history to look back on and one crappy Muppet film isn’t going to spoil my love of the franchise. And well, maybe my opinion means nothing because my kids seemed to like it.