As it had stated in its teaser trailer, the newest Muppet movie, “Muppets Most Wanted” had strived to be “better, bigger and bolder.”
The film was most definitely bigger in terms of budget, length and funny cameos. Bolder, because of its multiple settings and higher staked plot.
But, better? I just can’t bring myself to say it.
I’m sorry Muppets, but it was obvious that Jason’s Segel’s writing was sorely missed in this halfway decent sequel. Without Segel’s witty humor and comedic timing, co-writer Nicholas Stroller and director James Bobin just could not hold down the fort. This brought the movie from being potentially great to just okay.
The plot was a bit of a mess. While the film did tell a story from start to finish, it had been introduced kind of awkwardly and ended just about the same way. It does start literally right after the previous Muppets movie, but “Muppets Most Wanted” has very, very little to do with “The Muppets.”
If the film had been a standalone sequel like the previous films, this wouldn’t have bugged me so much. But according to its press releases, it was an official sequel to “The Muppets.” It may or may not have tried to establish some kind of intentional disconnect in the beginning of the film but the message was not conveyed effectively.
Ricky Gervais’ character was, for the most part, useless. Other than a sloppy attempt to make the film progress, I saw no need for him. He surprisingly wasn’t a very convincing villain, or henchmen or whatever he was trying to be. This role could have been played by just about anyone, but I feel like it should have just been omitted or at least not as emphasized.
The rest of the characters were likeable. Tina Fey had a very comedic performance as a Gulag prison guard with a soft spot for Kermit the Frog and Ty Burrell made for a hilarious Interpol inspector who has to work with Sam the Eagle to investigate a case of robberies. And of course, the Muppets could do no wrong and were as animated as ever. Muppets that were not featured in the previous film even made short appearances on screen.
I do feel like Walter, our former protagonist and newest muppet, was a little cast to the side. But that was fine for the most part since the focus was shifted back on the Muppets as a unit and Walter was now apart of that unit.
The musical numbers are not as memorable as the “The Muppets” but music producer Bret McKenzie still offered some fun filled tracks to tap your feet to.
While the newest Muppet movie wasn’t a complete failure, it failed to deliver what it had promised, “the greatest motion picture of all time.”
Cut down the first twenty minutes. Throw in a montage. And take out Ricky Gervais. Maybe then this movie won’t make me miss “The Muppets” so much.