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Muppets Most Wanted [MOVIE REVIEW]

In celebration of the new Muppet TV-Show on ABC, I decided to look back at the latest entry in the franchise on the big screen. In 2011 a Muppet “reboot” came out simply titled ‘The Muppets’. It was a critical and commercial success receiving a 96% rating on rottentomatoes and grossed a little over $165 million at the worldwide box office so naturally a sequel was immediately in the works with the director James Bobin replacing Jason Segel as a co-writer next to Nicholas Stoller who also wrote the previous installment. Together they brought us 'Muppets Most Wanted'.

With a 79% rating on rottentomatoes and 61/100 rating on MetaCritic it is safe to say that this is not as highly acclaimed as the previous movie but that is not something we should have expected and it is not like this film was poorly received like it very well could have been. ‘Muppets Most Wanted’ is a very typical Muppet movie with all the fourth wall gags and celebrity cameos you can chew and while there is definitely a lot of both – there may actually be a bit too many which could be a bit distracting and take you out of the story from time to time. This is especially noticeable after coming off of something like ‘The Muppets’ which a very emotional and cinematic movie about the characters trying to return into this world that pretty much forgot they even existed just to see if they could do it again. However despite the celebrity cameos being turned up to 11 – there was never a moment were I went “oh no, not again!” so the criticism is split down the middle.

All the new characters are great additions to the film, with Tina Fey as Nadya being a standout. She is a guard at a Russian GULAG prison who is coincidentally a big fan of Kermit and also likes to sing so naturally when Kermit is mistaken to be Constantine and is thrown into this prison – she does not believe it is actually him which leads to lots of great scenes between the two later on. My biggest problem with Nadya being a huge fan is that it does not alter the story in any big way and it does not build up to anything so there is really no reason to have it in the film which is a shame because there were definitely things they could have done with it. The actual Constantine character is kind of fun (and very CG sometimes), he is a serviceable villain with a lot of the typical clich├ęd villain tropes (which is on purpose). His opening scene is one of the highlights of the entire movie and for the most part he probably made me laugh more than any others. The weakest of the new characters however is Ricky Gervais as Dominic Badguy, this does not necessarily mean he is a bad character – he just does not really stand out as much as the other two because of the way he is written. Do not get me wrong, Ricky Gervais is a good actor and a great comedian but he did not get much to work with here as none of his lines were especially funny and the character was always overshadowed by being number two (there is even a song in the film about that).

‘Muppets Most Wanted’ is a very likeable film but it does not really stand on its own feet very well because this is the first Muppet Movie that is a direct sequel to the previous film which is something that has not happened before as all the other movies have their own separate story with little to nothing in common with the other movies except the characters. ‘The Muppets’ of course can stand on its own feet even though it is a movie filled with nostalgia and I wish this movie could too. Jason Segel’s involvement with ‘The Muppets’ added so much heart and depth to the movie seeing as he is a lifelong fan of the characters and heart and depth is something that is noticeably lacking here. Sure it did not need as much as the last movie to work but the whole thing felt rather stale and conventional. The one positive thing (I guess) is that it has reduced the number of songs which was a common complaint about the previous movie (which I do not necessarily agree with) but there are still a lot in this movie. The difference though is that ALL the songs are good here, sure none of them stand out like "Man or Muppet", "Life is a Happy Song" or "Pictures in My Head" which are all legitimately brilliant ("Man or Muppet" even won the Oscar for best Original Song) but the rest of them in 'The Muppets' were not that good so if there is something 'Muppets Most Wanted' did better - it is the average quality of all the original songs combined.

All right I am going to stop comparing this film to ‘The Muppets’ now, let us talk about more positive things about THIS film to wrap it up. The directing is good, James Bobin has done a great job with both of these movies and I would be more than happy if he were to ever direct an episode of the Muppet TV-Show. The music is great like I said, the movie balances between Muppet characters and human characters very well in my humble opinion (I say that because I have ve seen some criticism about how it mostly focuses on the humans) and the story is formulaic and basic but it kinda works to serve the movie with enough fourth wall gags. It is a good movie but it pales in comparison to the last one and it is rather forgettable.

6/10

- Lucas

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