After a twelve year absence from the big screen, The Muppets made a big splash in their 2011 comeback film. Thankfully we didn’t have to wait another dozen years for the next one. Muppets Most Wanted is a global caper starring all your favorite fuzzy puppets, as well as Ty Burrell, Ricky Gervais, and Tina Fey, along with an exhausting list of cameos too long to list here – not that I would spoil it for you anyway.
With the success of the first film, Kermit and the gang – in typical Muppet style self awareness – are faced with the difficult decision of what to do next now that they are relevant again. When Dominic Badguy (Gervais) suggests a world tour, it doesn’t take much convincing to get the whole group on board. Little do they know, the tour is just a cover for Badguy to assist recently escaped criminal mastermind and Kermit lookalike, Constantine, pull off the most daring robbery of his career. Soon Constantine has replaced the lovable green leader and Kermit is in Russian lockup at the mercy of the ruthless Nadya (Fey). Can the others figure out what’s happening before it’s too late? (Hint: This is a family film).
The previous Muppet film, The Muppets was pretty good, but the formula felt tired. The whole “save the theater and show from evil business people and/or from dated obscurity” seems to have been done before, once or twice by the Muppets themselves, and many times by others. Even if it was a logical comeback plot, it felt tired, if funny. Giving the ensemble a madcap adventure to be a part of feels much fresher and even if it’s not quite up to par with the quality and nostalgia of their better works, it’s still a hilarious and fun ride.
There are some things I would have done differently – perhaps give it some sort of sense of unpredictability for starters. It’s easy to see where things are going from the very start. That’s not to say it isn’t a fun ride, and it’s never boring, just obvious. This is once again a movie about the Muppets instead of a movie with Muppets in it – think A Christmas Carol and Treasure Island. That gives it a little bit of stale flavor just because it’s the Muppets doing Muppet things. I would love to see another adaptation, or something completely original that doesn’t revolve around their stage show, like Muppets from Space.
All it’s faults, however, merely mean that it didn’t live up to the full potential of The Muppets and not that it wasn’t still a fun-filled comedy that can be enjoyed by everyone of all ages. Kids will laugh at the obvious jokes and antics, adults will laugh at the cameos and references, along with the nostalgia infused jokes and antics. So it’s really a win win, but it could have been a win, win, win.
Mrs. Hamster says:
“It felt more like a classic Muppet movie – based around Muppets instead of human characters.”
My rating: Three out of five hats
Muppets Most Wanted laughs its way into 3,194 theaters, March 21