After their successful comeback with Jason Segal and Amy Adams in The Muppets, Kermit and the gang are back in this globe-trotting sequel that takes us from America to Berlin, Madrid, Dublin and London with a few stops over in a Russian Gulag too. After the success of the comeback movie, and with the breakout hit of ‘Am I a Man or a Muppet?’ expectations were high for this sequel. The plot centers around Constantin – the World’s Most Dangerous Frog and Dominic Badguy (Ricky Gervais) as they take The Muppet Show around the world to act as a cover for their nefarious plot. Meanwhile, Kermit, feeling abandoned by his family, has to try and engineer an escape from prison. It stars Kermit, Walter, Fozzie, Gonzo, Miss Piggy, Animal and the rest of The Muppets, as well as Ricky Gervais, Ty Burrell, Tina Fey and oh so many celebrity cameos far too numerous to mention. Does it live up to expectations? Well…
Yes and no. It’s a Muppets movie so there’s a lot of manic, chaotic fun. As in The Muppets, there are some characters that get barely any screentime and this may annoy longtime fans. The main plot takes a far different focus than the previous film. It’s a lot less intimate and as such I think it loses the heart that the first film had. I know it’s a Muppets film so I’m cutting it more slack than I would for other films, but some of the script is incredibly lazy and I think they could have made it a bit more intelligent. It gives the feeling of a lot of gags strung together rather than a steady, developed story. The gags were good but I wish the story element was at the same level, as such it left me wanting.
But like I said, I’m not marking it down too badly because of that. I liked seeing Walter again and I’m glad he wasn’t forgotten or ignored. Ricky Gervais was his usual entertaining self, and even busted out some moves that fans of The Office (UK version) will enjoy. Ty Burrell was brilliant, although I’ve come to expect nothing less since watching Modern Family and I though Tina Fey was incredibly entertaining as the guard at the Gulag. The rest of the celebrity cameos were great and I’m not going to list them here because I think the fun is spotting them for yourself. However, I will say that a lot of the humour does come from seeing which celebrities pop up, and if you don’t know who they are then a lot of the film isn’t going to work for you. Again this is something that might bother longtime fans. I can imagine there are people out there who loved The Muppets but don’t really keep up with films, so a lot of the references will go unappreciated and it can be a bad thing to hear a joke that you’re not in on.
The other main aspect of the film is the songs. They all range from decent to good but there’s not one that captures the audience like ‘Man or Muppet‘ did. And I think that’s true of the whole film. The classic anarchy is there and there’s enough to satisfy fans of The Muppets, but it doesn’t strike the same emotional chord as the previous film. I think that one dealt with a universal concept that was easy to become invested in whereas this one doesn’t have the same emotional core, so it relies on the gags and cameos a lot more. A lot of the humour is meta and the self-awareness to the fact that it’s a sequel and sequels usually aren’t as good as the prior entry isn’t really enough to justify the laziness of the script.
Muppets Most Wanted does struggle to live up to its predecessor but it’s a decent outing. The chaotic humour is still there and there are a wealth of celebrity cameos that will delight you if you recognise them. I think this is an entertaining movie but don’t go in expecting it to be as good as The Muppets. There’s still plenty to like though, and if you like The Muppets as a whole you’ll be pleased to see them on the big screen again. I do hope they make a third one but I want it to have the same emotional impact as The Muppets.