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Digesting the lowest rung of pop culture so you don't have to!
Last weekend, I checked out the latest Muppets movie, Muppets Most Wanted. I really loved 2011’s The Muppets which rejuvenated the franchise, so I was looking forward to the follow-up. I’ll admit, though, that I had some trepidation about it. As I’ve discussed previously, the marketing was very subpar for the film, and it didn’t really get me excited for the movie. But then, marketing can be terrible. I was still determined to check it out.
After seeing it, however, I was a bit disappointed. Muppets Most Wanted isn’t a bad movie by any means. I’d argue it is on the stronger end of family movies out there currently. But it just left me a bit cold. When I left the theater, I couldn’t help, but ask myself “that’s it?” I guess the movie warned me since a line towards the beginning says that sequels are never as good as the original. The strange thing is that I cannot really pinpoint what didn’t quite work for me. Was my expectation up a bit too much based on my enjoyment of the previous film? I guess that is a possibility, but surely it is more than that.
I suppose what hurt the film for me was the story. In it, Kermit is kidnapped and replaced by a criminal doppelganger, Constantine. The evil frog’s goal is to use the Muppets to travel Europe in order to pull off various heists with his partner played by Ricky Gervais. While there is nothing wrong with the tale, and I did enjoy seeing Constantine trying to pull off Kermit (him constantly calling Miss Piggy “Pig” is just hilarious to me), it just seems so pedestrian. That was the best they could come up with? The scope felt more television-movie than a theatrically released film.
But while a story premise is one thing, the execution of it is somewhat poor as well. I feel this mostly because none of the supporting cast (Fozzie, Walter, Miss Piggy, etc) are utilized very well. Most disappear for a long while and only come up when the story demands them to. I don’t mean for a gag or something like that – more for “oh, we need the story to go in this direction now”. It is a bit sloppy.
The songs are not very memorable as well. The only arguable exception is “Together Again” and that is only memorable due to it being an already established Muppet song. There was a hilarious 80s-styled romance song, but I remember that from the visuals – Lord knows I don’t remember any of the lyrics or the beat.
Muppets Most Wanted is such a mixed bag. There were lots of good such as Tina Fey, Ty Burrell (doing a wonderful farce of a French policeman), and the host of cameos. But the film was an overall disappointment. I was left wanting. And I was disappointed that I was left wanting. That’s two disappointments. It is the Muppets. They shouldn’t deliver a middling film. They deserve better than that. Hopefully, if another film is made, Disney can learn from the creative missteps and make something great.