In the wake of their hugely successful reunion and telethon to save the Muppet Studios, Kermit and the gang are approached by Dominic Badguy (Ricky Gervais) who wants to manage the Muppets on a worldwide tour. However, the World’s Most Dangerous Frog Constantin – who bears more than a passing resemblance to Kermit – has just been liberated from a Siberian gulag, and it is not long before the Muppets are separated and involved in an international crime circle.
I have to confess, I am a huge fan of The Muppets; when the TV show came on in my house, there had to be silence or there was hell to pay. Yes, I was one of those kids. So The Muppets returning to the big screen in 2012 was a big deal for me, and the nostalgia that it brought up was nothing short of magical. The magic has waned ever so slightly this time out.
The story is just silly enough for it to work for Muppets fans and for the newer, younger fans in the audience, and there is plenty of slapstick and jokes to go around. Ricky Gervais is on fantastic form as the put upon, evil Dominic Badguy, and Tina Fey is wonderfully over the top as a guard at a Siberian gulag. Of course Kermit, Miss Piggy, Gonzo, Fozzie, The Swedish Chef and all our favourite characters are back, and they are splendid, as usual.
The story leaves plenty of room for confusion comedy, cultural humour and prison gags, but it is in all of this gallivanting around the world that things become a little muddled. Perhaps there is a little too much going on here, but by the time the gang reach Dublin (Hurrah!) the pacing stumbles and the film struggles. The songs – once again provided by Bret McKenzie – have tons of heart and warmth, but sadly there is no one standout showstopper like we had the last time with Man or Muppet.
The cameos, as we might expect, are fantastic, with Danny Trejo, Russell Tovey, Stanley Tucci, Tom Hiddleston, Jemaine Clement, Chrisoph Waltz and Saoirse Ronan turning up – to name but a few. The cameo performances have a little more to do this time out, and Danny Trejo in particular has a standout laugh out loud moment. Many of the jokes flash past the screen, leaving us still laughing long after they have gone, and the silly fun is infectious and warm.
Muppets Most Wanted is a decent follow on to 2012’s The Muppets, but it seems like there is a little too much going on, leaving the pacing a little muddled and the running time ever so slightly too long. That said, however, The Muppets are on hilarious, all singing, all dancing form and it is almost impossible not to get swept along with the silly crime caper they find themselves embroiled in.