Muppets Most Wanted (2014)

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A farcical style movie that ramps up in silliness and famous faces more than the previous film in 2011. It’s a good Muppets film just not as good as the one that came before, it seems to miss more heart and charm and messes around more with globe hopping than focusing on the Muppet family as a core.

In this plot we pick up right after the ending of ‘The Muppets’ as they try and work out where to go from there, a suggestion from Dominic Badguy (Ricky Gervais) leads them to touring the world and selling out from Madrid to Berlin. The worlds most dangerous frog who happens to look like Kermit escapes and switches places with the lovable Muppet in green, so we have scenes in a Siberian gulag with a wrongly arrested Kermy and the ever increasing popularity of the Muppets could possibly be down to something other than their talents.

The problem is that this film takes more screentime to look at the villains working and they’re not that exciting and make us miss more of the sentiment and fun you get when hanging with the Muppets. The 2011 movie was a more interesting affair in both letting us see a new character try and join and have tension in an evil oil baron halting their marathon money raising show, it felt like it had more suspense in the baron stopping the show and them never actually raising all that cash whereas in this movie it never feels like the tension lifts off the ground, you know it’s all going to be sorted which doesn’t give the movie much drive. Also sticking with Constantin and Dominic gets tedious after a while as their consistent number 1 and 2 roles keep getting mentioned. It doesn’t help that Gervais isn’t that great in it and feels more cringeworthy than bad, he sadly throws in his David Brent dance, tries singing through a poor song and ends up with a character twist that isn’t overly spectacular.

Also it feels rushed like sequels sometimes do and the tour caper notion pushes the film along too fast leaving no time to settle on Muppet madness instead focusing on the villains every time their train comes to a stop. There isn’t enough of the Interpol guys who are one of the better elements of the film and Ty Burrell is utterly fantastic and needed more screentime. The saddest thing about all of this though – in my eyes – are the songs that don’t feel as creative and special as from the film before. There are segments of certain songs that are clever and/or funny but some of the lines cannot be heard that well or they don’t hold that magic X factor that songs like ‘Life’s A Happy Song’ or Man or Muppet’ had. Another case where the film seemed rushed as the songs didn’t seem to have time poured over them, a real shame as the musical numbers were something I was looking forward to when watching the movie.

Now for the positive notes, where there’s many and overall they do override the negatives. Tina Fey and Ty Burrell as the other leading human cast are brilliant and barmy. The visual gags are thick and fast and insanely funny at times, for example something as simple as a spinning newspaper reading slow news day when it headlines The Muppets. There’s lots to see and hear and luckily not all the jokes are stuffed in the trailer. Fey’s goodnight to Danny Trejo is a brilliantly timed end note to a scene, Constantin trying to emulate Kermit’s voice while watching tapes is stupidly hilarious and the sketches of Dominic and Walter musing are sublime. There’s more little moments that make the film and too many to mention which highlight that this film still can succeed in it’s funny material even if the plot leaves something to be desired. The Interpol song is one of the better numbers and the bookending songs of the film are also good, all the others are mediocre at best but with a feast of five second cameos from even bigger names of celebrity it’s hard to remember the songs and they distract from the story. The cameos are fantastic and are breakneck speed appearances from that of Chloe Grace Moretz and Christoph Waltz to Frank Langella to Tom Hiddleston. The final reveal of the mysterious gulag prisoner is also genius and the finale makes you realise how many big names they got to appear in the film.

Apart from a sort of underwhelming ending to the story and the story in general it’s a damn fun film with visual gags aplenty. An enjoyable film with the same glee in being clever and silly but lacking in it’s predecessors charm and plot but then as Kermit sings in the beginning the sequels never are quite as good.

7/10

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