Constantine: It’s not easy being mean.
The Muppets may be made of felt but they aren’t dumb. Even they know that a sequel is ordinarily inferior to its predecessor. In fact, they even sing about it in the opening number to their latest film, MUPPETS MOST WANTED. The bad news is that they’re mostly right. Despite bringing back the same creative team that worked on 2011’s THE MUPPETS, the follow-up is nowhere near as amusing, endearing or spontaneous. The good news however, is that none of this really matters, as when it comes to The Muppets, even a somewhat disappointing outing still makes for a good time all the same. I will always choose some Muppet-y goodness over no Muppets at all.
On some levels, it isn’t fair to compere MUPPETS MOST WANTED to their 2011 comeback film. The last film was about resurrecting The Muppets; it was about honouring their legacy and playing on the nostalgic sentimentality of the fans who had been waiting very a long time to see them in the spotlight once again. It was inherently designed to remind older audiences how much they loved The Muppets, while trying to show younger audiences what they had been missing out on. Now that they’re done reasserting The Muppets place in the pop culture pantheon though, all that is left to do is go on a crazy Muppet adventure. This particular adventure finds The Muppets wondering what to do with their rekindled fame and deciding, after being encouraged by the suspicious Dominic Badguy (Ricky Gervais), to go on a world tour. Kermit the Frog is reluctant and with good reason. While at first, it seems like Kermit’s hesitation may be holding the group back from achieving further success, before too long, Kermit is mistaken for the world’s most notorious frog, Constantine, and locked in a Siberian prison for crimes he didn’t commit. Constantine replaces Kermit on the tour, which no one safe for Animal notices, so that he can travel the world and steal everything he needs to pull off the biggest heist of his career, stealing the crown jewels in England.
Gervais is joined on screen by Ty Burrell, who plays a French Interpol officer investigating the thefts, and Tina Fey, who plays Kermit’s prison warden. None of their story lines have any emotional centre, which is what allows MUPPETS MOST WANTED to be nothing more than a zany, international caper, the stuff less inspired sequels are made of. Whether its Gonzo’s indoor running of the bulls act with Selma Hayek, or the idea of an existential, black and white art film starring the Swedish Chef, The Muppets provide plenty of hearty laughs to make this sequel worth watching. If they want to remain some of the most wanted commodities on the planet though, they’d best put a little more thought into their next big show before they put on their makeup, light the lights and invite everyone to join them in song.