Muppets Most Wanted
By: Meg Humphrey
For me, Muppets Most Wanted ranked up there as “most anticipated movie of the year” along with The Winter Soldier, Guardians of the Galaxy, and Into the Woods. I’ve been a Muppet fan for as long as I can remember. While Muppets in Space didn’t rock my world and TV movies like Kermit’s Swamp Years or A Very Merry Muppet Christmas were only decent, things started to turn around in 2011 with the release of The Muppets. A second movie in the same vein had a lot of high hopes attached to it.
A quick rundown of the plot: Constantine, the world’s most dangerous frog, escapes a Russian Gulag and swaps places with Kermit (thanks to some makeup and super glue) in order to pull off the most notorious theft in the world – stealing the Crown Jewels. The heart of the story lies in how readily the Muppets accept the new, and obviously very different, Kermit and how the real Kermit faces the premise of being abandoned in prison.
The Muppets are wonderfully self aware. They know their niche in pop culture and how much of their fan base are adults that grew up with the Muppets. It’s obvious with the human headliners: Tina Fey, Ricky Gervais, and Ty Burrell as well as those in supporting cameos: Danny Trejo (love!), Tom Hiddleston, Jemaine Clement, and Mackenzie Cook – just to name VERY few. Because of this, though, I do believe they had to throw in some child-aimed jokes that aren’t usually present in Muppet movies (there was one poop joke). Other than that, I think the movie did a great job of walking the fine edge of humor that could appeal to everyone.
One criticism I do have is that although all of the musical numbers are entertaining and excellently written by Bret McKenzie, there’s only one song that pulls emotional weight. The songs feel more like “Cabin Fever” (Muppet Treasure Island) and less like “Bless Us All” (A Muppet Christmas Carol). When the soundtrack is compared to songs like “Saying Goodbye” (Muppets Take Manhattan), or “Life’s a Happy Song” (The Muppets), or any song in The Muppet Movie, there’s less that inspires, warms, and motivates – which is a big reason why the Muppets have stayed with us.
That being said, Muppets Most Wanted is still a strong addition to the Muppet library. It upholds the equal amounts of fun, heart, and fleece that make the Muppets unique.
One last note: I miss you, Frank Oz. No one can be Miss Piggy like you.