Let me just take a moment and say how incredibly happy I am that they are making Muppet movies again. 2011's The Muppets was the first Muppet movie in 12 years and the experience of seeing my favorite childhood friends back on the big screen after such an incredibly long absence was just overwhelming. Seriously, I cried like a baby throughout that movie because I was so happy to see them again! Well, that and it was really sad at points.
The aforementioned is why I found this film so refreshing. Not only does it prove that the franchise has been successfully revitalized (as their opening number "We're doing a sequel" celebrates) but it's also about a thousand times more lighthearted than it's 2011 predecessor.
They throw around ideas for what movie they should make in the beginning, poking fun at the plots they've already used in past films (and verifying that this 'sequel' is technically the 7th sequel since the original Muppet Movie). One of the main bad guys of the film has the last name "Badguy". When Kermit gets arrested they throw him into a police vehicle labeled "plotpoint". When Tina Fey bids goodnight to the prisoners Waltons-style she calls Danny Trejo by name, just to point out how stuffed-to-the-gills with cameos the movie is.
More famous celebrities than you can shake a stick at!
But regardless of all this star power, we all know who we're really there to see and this movie features them more than the 2011 film did by giving them the bulk of the dialogue, action and singing tasks. (It's not uncommon to find a scene with no human participants and I personally found that refreshing.)
The real stars
Which isn't to say that the actors don't do a bang-up job. Ricky Gervais is fantastic as the under appreciated sidekick to Kermit's look-alike Constantine (A.K.A. "The most dangerous frog in the world") and holds his own despite a scene-stealing frog.
And Ty Burrell rocks as the Interpol agent trying to catch the criminal masterminds. (It helps that he spends the bulk of the movie channeling Inspector Jacques Clouseau.)
But my personal favorite was definitely Tina Fey as the hard-nosed jail warden keeping Kermit locked up in Siberian purgatory. Her performance of "The Big House" was delightful and her deft maneuvering of Kermit's many escape attempts will make every fan of prison break-out movies ecstatic.
“I have Netflix account with search key words ‘prison escape', I have seen every prison movie ever made, even the ones in space.”
Overall I'd have to say my only disappointment was the use of Kermit and Miss Piggy's wedding as a plot device. I know that when you're raving about how overwhelmingly silly a movie is you can't really stand firm in your criticisms of that same movie's ignorance of the characters' previous canon- but I can't help it. Their wedding in The Muppets Take Manhattan (which is still my favorite Muppet movie of them all) was one of the most romantic moments of my childhood and I just can't abide this film's refusal to acknowledge that it ever happened. Though even I have to admit that Miss Piggy looks a ton more impressive in Vivienne Westwood than she did in that super-poofy 80's wedding dress.
Still, nothing will ever replace the moment Kermit finally sang his petrified "I do" back in 1984.
The most romantic moment of little Bev's young life
But I digress. The almost-wedding doesn't distract from what is overall a kick-ass movie full of all the laughs, gags, singing, dancing and heart that one expects from the Muppets. If you're a fan (and I assume you are, why else would you be reading this?) you will love this new addition to the long line of fantastic Muppet exploits. And if you're a parent who grew up with these guys and want to introduce them to your little ones this isn't a bad start. And heck, if you just like being happy, this is also a great choice for that.
I guess my point is that I love the Muppets. Always have, always will.