It’s tough being a sequel in Hollywood. Sure you’ve got a built-in audience, but you also have crazy high expectations and generally get churned out quickly for big bucks all at the expense of a solid story.
In the history of awesometastic movies, it’s rare that a sequel isn’t just good but better than the original. A few notable exceptions include The Empire Strikes Back, Superman II and Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. So when a sequel to 2011’s Jason Segel-starring The Muppets was announced, I was both ecstatic and incredibly skeptical.
Yes, I know there’ve been roughly seven sequels since that very first magical The Muppet Movie hit theaters back in 1979. But I’m not talking about those. This latest crop is almost like a reboot thanks to Jason Segal and a great group of talent behind that last film. To me, The Muppets Most Wanted is a true sequel to this latest ongoing story.
During my trip to L.A. last week, I got to see Muppets Most Wanted twice! First at a private screening at Walt Disney Studios and then a few days later at the Muppets Red Carpet Premiere. I even got to conduct my very first Muppet interview with Kermit and the gang! So I’m pretty qualified to share my thoughts on the film.
I’ll start this Muppets Most Wanted review by adding that I’m going to see it for a third time this weekend when I take Allie and the boys. They can’t wait, and to be honest, neither can I.
Is Muppets Most Wanted as good as The Muppets? Well, to me, The Muppets was just perfect as it reflected exactly how I felt about these guys for the past few years. They just weren’t the Muppets anymore. I hadn’t liked any of their more recent specials or movies. But then they found Walter and got back together and… well, as cheesy as it sounds, for me, the magic returned. So The Muppets holds a very special place in my heart.
That’s not to say that Muppets Most Wanted isn’t right up there. I’d say it’s as good as its predecessor. It starts off literally at the end of the last movie and keeps the story rolling. It never takes itself too seriously and even the first song points out the inherent problem with sequels.
I think I actually like the songs better in Muppets Most Wanted than I did in The Muppets. There’s more of a Broadway feel to them, but they’re catchy and downright hysterical. Constantine’s “I’ll Get You What You Want” may very well be the funniest music video you’ll ever lay your peepers on. So yeah, go buy the Muppets Most Wanted soundtrack now and start belting out a tune other than “Let it Go” for a change.
The plot is fairly straightforward in a confusing Muppet sort of way. The basic gist is this: The Muppets join up with Dominic Badguy (Pronounced “Bah-gee,” it’s French he claims) and embark on a world tour! Along the way, Kermit is replaced by an evil criminal mastermind named Constantine… who just happens to look exactly like Kermit, save for a small mole on his chin.
Kermit ends up in a Siberian gulag (with a hilarious Tina Fey keeping the peace), while Dominic and Constantine fool the Muppets as they set up to perform the biggest jewel heist of all time. Along the way, however, Interpol and the CIA bonk heads as Sam the Eagle and Ty Burrell’s stereotypical European Jean Pierre Napoleon sniff out some big clues. They also put on one heck of a fast-paced tune with the “Interrogation Song.”
When I first saw previews of Muppets Most Wanted long ago, I was a bit confused/uncertain how Constantine would play out. But he quickly became one of my favorite new Muppets. His accent and cocky attitude are a riot. The fact that he’s terrible at remembering names and does the worst Kermit impression you’ve ever heard, just adds to the overall humor of the film. Especially when the rest of the Muppets just think their buddy Kermit has a cold.
As for my favorite Muppets, they all get their time in the sun, especially Fozzie Bear and Beaker. (Oh, poor, poor Beaker.) My only wish is that the Swedish Chef got a bit more airplay.
And yes, even the newest Muppet himself, Walter, plays a big role. He’s now a regular part of the gang, sporting his spiffy Kermit wristwatch.
If I had to compare Muppets Most Wanted to any other Muppets film, I’d say it’s most like The Great Muppet Caper, which happens to be my favorite of all the Muppet movies. It has a bunch of great action sequences, lots of espionage going on, all culminating in a
fantastic Muppetastic high-octane conclusion!
So is it better than The Muppets? No I don’t think so. But it definitely holds up and is as good as the previous film. The only bad thing I have to say about Muppets Most Wanted is that, well… I want more.
I want another Muppet movie now! I want I want The Muppets back on TV every single week! And yes, I want to be on stage with them!
Yep, by feeding my Muppets addiction, Disney may be making things worse for me. Good thing I’m going to catch Kermit and the gang again this Saturday. I’m just worried about what happens next weekend…
In Theaters NOW!