It’s 2+ years since the last Muppets film came out, 2011’s The Muppets. Call it what you want, but it was a reboot of sorts for the Muppets. They’ve had a number of hit-or-miss films since the 1980s, with diminishing returns. In 2011, Jim Henson’s company and Disney rebooted the franchise the film with a fresh start of sorts, and breathed a whole new life into this great franchise. I grew up on the Muppets — be it the weekly show and the theatrical films. I was rather happy to see Jason Segel and Amy Adams starring in an entertaining film starring my beloved Kermit and company. Where to go from here?
And that brings us to Muppets Most Wanted (2014), a sequel to the 2011 film. Much like the original 2nd Muppet film, The Great Muppet Caper (1981), this one centers around a road trip to Europe and a series of jewel heists performed by people known to the Muppets. The 1981 film took place primarily in London, while this film traverses both Western and Eastern Europe, including Russia. Starring big names such as Ricky Gervais, Ty Burrell, and Tina Fey, it’s an interesting film, but I wouldn’t say that I’d want to watch this film on repeat. The premise of the film? What with the Muppets’ newly rekindled fame, Rickey Gervais’ evil “Dominic Badguy” convinces the Muppets to go on an European tour. Unbeknownst to Kermit and the gang, Dominic is secretly plotting to work with Constantine, an evil green frog who is an almost exact doppelganger for Kermit. Kermit gets mistaken for Constantine, and gets locked up in a Siberian gulag under the control by Tina Fey’s prison guard or warden. Lastly, with all of these jewel heists going on, Ty Burrell plays a bumbling Interpol detective working with Sam the Eagle to catch the thieves.
The songs were okay, the jokes were so-so, but I felt that there was a lot of time spent with the Dominic and Constantine characters, and I personally would have liked the film to have centered around the beloved Muppets. Maybe the thought was to focus on newish characters with their own quirks and personalities, but I thought people came to see the Muppets that you know and love. Look, it’s not a bad film in any way, but IMHO, a bit lackluster.