The 2011 reboot of The Muppets was an unqualified success. Those adorable, fun felt creations had simply been too long out of the public gaze and were welcomed back with unabashed joy. A good three years later, here’s the sequel and it already feels like a case of ‘too soon.’ Which is not to say that there isn’t plenty to enjoy here.
The story picks up, quite literally, where the last film left off. Having just finished the climactic song and dance set piece, Kermit and Co wonder what they should do next and barely pausing for breath, launch straight into a song called ‘We’re doing a sequel!’ Tellingly, this features a lyric that claims that sequels are ‘never quite as good as the original,’ which sadly becomes something of a self-fulfilling prophecy. The Muppets acquire a new manager, Dominic Badguy (Ricky Gervais) who despite Kermit’s misgivings books them on a World tour. But given his name, it’s hardly a spoiler to reveal that Dominic is actually an international thief with his eyes fixed on the Crown Jewels. (Final gig?The Tower of London!) To achieve his nefarious ends, he has Kermit substituted with a lookalike, Constantine, ‘the world’s most dangerous frog,’ while the real Kermit is shunted off to a Russian Gulag where he is taken under the wind of camp commandant, Nadya (Tina Fey.)
Everything is in place. A sprightly script, some laugh-out-loud moments and brief guest appearances by a host of big names; yet something here doesn’t quite gel and it’s hard to put your finger on exactly what the problem is. At the end of the day, you have to hand it to the Henson crew, who manage to do the seemingly impossible by making you actually care about a bunch of glove puppets. This wasn’t a ‘rush to the cinema’ kind of film (unlike its predecessor) but nonetheless, for an undemanding evening of family entertainment, it’s well worth seeking out on DVD.