When it comes to family entertainment, the Muppets have been the biggest names in their game for over thirty years. Jim Henson's greatest creations have been loved by children of all ages since the original Muppet Show aired, and their comeback couldn't have gone better with 2011's The Muppets.
With every big theatrical success comes the inevitable sequel, and Muppets Most Wanted is a true return to form for Kermit and the gang. Focusing more on the classic Muppets this time around, Most Wanted feels like one of the classic adventures like The Great Muppet Caper than how its reboot felt, and managed to achieve bigger laughs as a result.
Kermit, Fozzy, Gonzo, and the rest, coming off a massive success and renewed fanbase, find themselves ready to take the world by storm once again. And, with the help and suggestion by their eccentric manager Dominic (Ricky Gervais), the Muppets prepare to take their show to European shores. However, all is not sunshine and rainbows when Kermit is ambushed by a look-alike known as Constantine, the “world's most dangerous frog”, ensuring Kermit takes his place in a Siberian gulag as Constantine takes Kermit's place as head of the Muppets. While Walter and Animal find the new Kermit to be acting quite strange, none of the other Muppets seem to notice – mainly because they're now aloud to do whatever they want during the stage shows.
Can Kermit find a way to break out of prison and get back to his Muppet family before Constantine ruins the Muppet name and pulls off the heist of a lifetime?
Director James Bobin returns to direct the beloved Muppets, co-writing the film with The Muppets' scribe Nicholas Stoller, continue to grand tradition of a Muppet caper. Bobin and Stoller are clearly fans of the original films and TV shows, as they maintain their sense of humor and flair while making the jokes just a tad more modern for the new fans – something that many franchises have been suffering from lately. Complete with new songs from Bret McKenzie (who Bobin worked with on Flight of the Concords), Bobin doesn't miss a step in making this film perfect.
Muppets Most Wanted is a truly a step in the right direction for the franchise. While the film may not share the same sentimentality as the previous film had, Most Wanted manages bigger laughs earned from the actual Muppets, and is less reliant on the human characters. Sure, Amy Adams and Jason Segel are noticeably missing from this installment, but that is far from a deterrent. The Muppets had always been able to stand on their own, and Most Wanted proves they still can. And while there aren't any songs like “Life's A Happy Song” from the last song, there aren't any songs like “Me Party” either, which balances things out nicely.
FINAL VERDICT: Muppets Most Wanted shows The Muppets truly continuing their return to form from their wonderful 2011 comeback, and manage to make a film less reliant on human interactions like the old days. With bigger laughs, smoother musical number transitions, and a story worthy of The Muppets, Most Wanted will certainly be most beloved by fans both old and new.