2014-03-20

Muppets Most Wanted – Is This What We Wanted?

by Yo Snyder

Muppets Most Wanted
starts off with a clever song that’s all about the shortcomings and problems
with doing a successful sequel; among them the fact that the sequel is almost
never as good. However, if the intent with this song was to lower expectations,
then it didn’t work because all it did for me was raise them. It was the
Muppets at their tongue-in-check, witty, self-aware, silly, fun, pun-filled and
funny best; and that’s just the opening musical number. Fortunately the rest of
the movie lives up to that goofy, tone-setting song, making Muppets Most Wanted a delightfully funny
and thoroughly grin-inducingly enjoyable movie from start to finish. Sure,
sequels are rarely as good that the first movie, but might this be one of those
rare occasions where the sequel is actually better?

One thing I’ve always appreciated about the Muppets is how
they remind us that it’s okay just to have some good, clean fun. Their humor is
never mean, never raunchy, never cruel, and generally only at the expense of the
Muppets themselves (“He’s been bribing people to come to our shows!”, “What?
Why didn’t we think of that years ago?”). The jokes and humor are at times
cheesy, silly, goofy, witty, pun-filled, and full of pop-culture references;
which stands out in stark contrast to the many R-rated comedies that dominate
the box office these days. The Muppets remind us that it’s okay to have silly
fun and just feel like a kid again.

Judging by the number of celebrity cameos in this film, all
of whom look like they’re having an absolute blast being in this movie, there
are plenty of people out there who agree that the sweetly innocent tone of the
Muppets humor is perfectly okay to enjoy. I was impressed with the number of
celebrities who show up in this film, some of them doing absolutely wacky things.
At times I was wondering how they convinced some of these stars to do this, but
the look of joy and glee on their faces says it all; they’re just having a
whole lot of fun singing and dancing with the Muppets. That fun is infectious,
and had me grinning and laughing through the whole film. In fact, Muppets Most Wanted is one of those
special movies that just leaves you feeling really good when you walk out of
the theater.

Of course, it wouldn’t be the Muppets if they didn’t also
work in a little moral to their story as well (“Something about being friends
or maybe the number 3.”). In this adventure, Kermit gets replaced by the
world’s most dangerous frog, Constantine, who wants to use the Muppets as a
front for his nefarious criminal plot. While the Muppets are initially
suspicious of “Kermit’s” odd behavior, they’re placated because this new Kermit
is willing to let the rest of the Muppets do whatever they want in their show
(including an indoor running of the bulls, guess how well that works out). Constantine,
as Kermit, promises to give the Muppets what they want; and who wouldn’t want
that, right? Well, as it turns out, getting what we want may not always be what
we need. Indeed, sometimes what we want is what’s best for us. For instance,
what we want is to be acknowledge as basically good people and, if we’re good
enough, to find our own way into a pleasant afterlife while living this life on
our own terms. So long as no one gets hurt, it’s all good, right?  God, however, knows what we need. He knows we’re not basically good,
but entirely sinful (Roman 3:23) and that what we need is a Savior who can take
care of that sin for us and make a way into heaven for us, which is something
we simply can’t do on our own (Romans 6:23). We may want to live life on our
own terms and by our own rules, but God knows that what we need is the
boundaries of absolute right and wrong; not to make life less fun, but to keep
us from harming ourselves and others and to enjoy a truly full and abundant
life. We can be disappointed that God doesn’t give us what we want, or we can
learn, like the Muppets did when they were finally reunited with Kermit, that
sometimes it’s best to have someone who cares enough about us not to give us everything we want, but
to provide for us what we really need.

The last Muppets movie was all about whether or not the
Muppets were still need in today’s day and age. It had a lot more heart and a
lot more nostalgia in it. Muppets Most Wanted, free of reestablishing why the
Muppets are still needed, is just straight-forward zany, goofy, silly fun. It’s
reminiscent of some of the best episodes of The Muppet Show, but with a much
grander plot. If you’re looking for a good time at the movies that will put a
smile on your face and the rest of the family, you just can’t go wrong with the
Muppets.

Score: 6 of 7 – It’s
zany, wacky fun fit for the whole family; there’s really no reason not to see this movie.