The thing you leave the cinema talking about after a Muppets movie is rarely the plot, but here it is anyway – The Muppets are doing a sequel, so after a short musical number deciding what they should do it about, Dominic Badguy (Ricky Gervais) appears and suggests they should go on tour. An evil Russian frog by the name of Constantine, who is a dead ringer for Kermit apart from a mole on his face, escapes from a gulag and attempts to take Kermit’s place in the cast without anyone noticing.
Compared to the previous movie, the plot is overblown and less character-driven. The emotion isn’t quite there, and while the last time it felt like a triumph to see a truly great Muppets movie, the expectations for this one were too high and don’t live up. Still, there is enough going on in the movie to warrant multiple viewings.
Like the last outing, this movie is an IMDb fan’s wet dream. Seeing Christoph Waltz appear in a mainstream movie without Tarantino ultraviolence surrounding him is refreshing, while Tumblr-favourite Tom Hiddleston’s short appearance still managed to generate floods of gifs. Everyone will have their own favourite cameo, but the two that really worked for me were James McAvoy and Usher – both of them so utterly ridiculous that they’re already gone by the time you worked out what just happened.
Bret McKenzie of Flight of the Conchords fame wrote the songs again, and they’re appropriately quirky and funny just like before. Tina Fey’s ‘The Big House’, complete with Russian accent, is a particular standout, and the ‘Interrogation Song’ with Ty Burrell’s Jean Pierre Napoleon and Sam Eagle is a good laugh. Whether the songs stand on their own or not is another thing altogether, but seeing Ricky Gervais doing the David Brent dance during his and Constantine’s ‘I’m Number One’ is a nice touch.
It’s The Muppets, and it’s The Muppets doing what they do well – plenty of self-referential humour, as many cameos as they could cram in, top quality songs, and a sense of togetherness at the heart of all Muppets stories. It’s not their finest hour, but it’s still a damn good show.