Muppets Most Wanted picks up literally from the “The End” text of the previous film, The Muppets from 2011 (be wary of the fourth wall - there is none). The Muppets start packing the set when they notice the cameras are still rolling and realize a sequel must have been ordered and they need a new plot. Enter Dominic Badguy (Ricky Gervais), pronounced “Badgee”, a talent agent who volunteers to be the Muppets’ new manager and pushes for them all to go on a world tour. What they don’t know is Badguy has a partner, Constantine (Matt Vogel), the most dangerous frog in the world with a distinct resemblance to Kermit (Steve Whitmire). Before you know it, Constantine and Kermit have switched places, trapping Kermit in the most secure and musical Siberian Gulag, run by the strict Nadya (Tina Fey). Now the Muppets find themselves in the middle of a jewel-heist caper being led by a strangely Russian-sounding “Kermit”.
When going into a Muppets production, you cannot take anything seriously. This is a movie that knows it’s a movie, that knows it’s a sequel, that knows it was a TV show. Everyone will randomly break into song, nobody will question why a third of the population is made of felt and celebrities will suddenly appear, half of them as themselves half of them not, for one or two lines, and will never be seen again. And the movie makes fun of all of it.
So, what needs to be asked is, was it fun? Yes. The tongue-in-cheek humor brings constant chuckles and the dance numbers are full of smiles. The Muppets always have that strange way of making audiences care about the personal problems of their puppeteered characters.
Personally, I would have liked to see more of bureaucratic-lazy Interpol Agent Napoleon (Ty Burrell). His bits with Sam the Eagle (Eric Jacobson) seem to have the most potential but the least screen time.
Despite all the praise, I felt the movie wasn’t as good as it could have been and for the longest time I didn’t know why. Finally, I realized there may have been an underlying problem in the plot. The 2011 reboot successfully twisted the series by openly acknowledging these movies were nostalgia machines and playing with the idea of hardcore fans always wanting to be a muppet. Being the direct sequel, Most Wanted feels like just another Muppets movie that only connects with the previous installment for meta humor sake. This is worrying because there are only so many just-another-Muppets-movies you can make before they start to lose their charm. Most Wanted is an entertaining movie and viewers of all ages will enjoy it. Many of the diehards, though, will be hoping the writers can come up with more twisted self-referential stories like in 2011.
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