The follow-up to 2011's The Muppets, Muppets Most Wanted follows...well, The Muppets (who else?) as they tour Europe, only to become ensnared in a caper as they encounter Constantine, a crime boss who bears an incredible resemblance to Kermit. The film sees the return of Flight of the Conchords alumni James Bobin and Bret McKenzie, as well as The Muppets co-writer Nicholas Stoller. Jason Segel is completely unaffiliated with this movie. The film stars Ricky Gervais, Tina Fey, and Ty Burrell.It was released in theaters on March 21, 2014.Watch the first trailer here and the second trailer here.
Muppets Most Wanted includes the following tropes:
Affably Evil: For an international jewel thief, Dominic is quite a polite chap, in contrast to his boss Constantine who holds everyone in contempt. When he's in jail he even thanks the cafeteria worker for his meal.
The Muppets begin their world tour by taking a train from Los Angeles to Berlin. Across the north pole, no less.
This makes it only slightly less ridiculous when they take the same train from Madrid to Dublin later on.
Fozzie, Walter, and Animal somehow manage to reach the Siberian Gulag where Kermit is being held within roughly a day. By walking. From Dublin.
All of the above makes it seem even stranger that it takes Napoleon and Sam over 30 hours to drive from Geneva to Madrid (normally about a 13-hour trip). Of course, they are driving The Alleged Car.
And That Would Be Wrong: When Fozzie is told that Dominic is bribing critics for good reviews his response is "Why didn't we ever think of doing that?" Beat. "I mean, that's terrible!"
Ascended Extra: Link Hogthrob, slightly. Going from being a part a musical number in the last movie to being part of a musical number and having actual dialogue in this one, this is Link's biggest role in a Muppet movie yet.
Sam the Eagle has a much larger role, working with Ty Burrell's character to solve Constantine's crimes.
A pair of real-life examples: Ricky Gervais and Danny Trejo both had (deleted) cameos in The Muppets, only to receive a major and supporting role, respectively, in this movie.
Aww, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: Kermit and Piggy in a nutshell. Piggy seems more in love with the concept of being married to him and Kermit's definitely not as gung-ho to rush into things (this was a minor subplot in the previous film, and a Running Gag through the series), but Constantine's manipulation of Piggy causes her a lot of doubts, and Kermit is seen with a rather...interesting...pin-up of Piggy in his cell. Not to mention how Kermit manages to tell Constantine off.
Be Careful What You Wish For: Kermit vetoed a lot of his crew's ideas due to being way too long (Electric Mayhem's marathon jam session), inappropriate (Piggy's Giftedly Bad singing), or just plain nuts (an indoor Running of the Bulls, Gonzo?!). With Kermit gone, Constantine impersonating him, and Dominic not caring, the whole show goes Off the Rails, and only Dominic's bribery hides how awful it truly is.
Likewise, Constantine plays Piggy for a fool by pretending to be the willing suitor Kermit usually isn't. Piggy is really happy to be getting what she wanted...but starts to have second thoughts about it all when it's nearly too late.
Notably, Constantine is the first Muppet Big Bad in a (theatrical and non-Sesame Street) Muppet movie. Not counting adaptations.
Big Bad Wannabe: Dominic Badguy , AKA "The Lemur." His attempt to betray Constantine was seen a mile away, especially by Constantine and his lemur theme (with full costume) earned him nothing but mockery.
Blatant Lies: Dominic Badguy, about his surname: "It means... good man."
Bluff the Impostor: Piggy does this when both Constantine and Kermit show up at the same time. The one who hesitated over the marriage proposal, she concluded, had to be the right one.
Breaking the Fourth Wall: A significant amount of the jokes and scenes will frequently do this and overlap with Leaning on the Fourth Wall. Heck the first five minutes is the entire Muppets cast singing about how this movie is going to have Sequelitis and ending with what the plot for the movie is going to be
A quick blink and miss it scene is where Constantine is trying (and seriously failing) to say "burglary". The ensuing shot of Dominic has him looking exasperated and briefly glancing at the camera in a "my boss is a twit" kind of way.
The Fourth Wall is thoroughly demolished in the extended cut, when Fozzie, Walter, and Animal rescue Kermit from the gulag:
Kermit: "The weakest point in the gulag is over there, by the fourth wall."
[Kermit, Fozzie, Walter, and Animal turn and stare at the camera for several long seconds.]
In fact, the very beginning where they just finished filming the first movie it's hard to tell where the fourth wall starts and ends.
Brick Joke: The "maximum security prisoner" gets to come out of his cell for the finale and turns out to be Josh Groban.
In the extended cut, we see one of Gonzo's runaway bulls tackle the Muppet Newsman after he announces "Kermit" and Piggy's wedding.
Bungling Inventor: Bunsen, as usual. In reference to his bomb-attracting suit, Kermit asks, "WHY would you ever invent something like that?" Subverted in that this utterly insane invention saves the day when Constantine tries to blow up Miss Piggy.
Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Despite their eccentric personalities and quirks, both Sam the Eagle and Jean Pierre are rather good at their jobs. They do manage to make good deductions based on logical reasoning, making the connection between the Muppets and the heists. They do question the Muppets, and while they do rule out that there is nothing implicitly linking them to the crimes, they still believe that there has to be some connection. It's only when they are given false evidence that the pair are led astray, but even then it backs up their theory that one of the Muppets was responsible.
Police Are Useless: Despite all of this, Sam and Jean are of no real help in actually defeating and capturing Constantine.
The Bus Came Back: Louise Gold returns to the Muppet cast after a fifteen-year absence, to bring back her character Annie Sue after an absence nearly twice as long.
Also Mildred Huxtetter (the purple upper-class woman Muppet) made a couple of cameos in the movie after not being seen properly as a main Muppet since the Muppet Show ended.
Call Back: The very beginning of this movie begins with the very ending of the last movie, or rather, on the "The End" title, where we hear the last two bars of "Life's a Happy Song". We even see Gary and Mary, but their backs are turned to the camera to hide the fact that they couldn't get Jason Segel or Amy Adams to return.
Miss Poogy, the obnoxious Moopet who briefly takes the place of Miss Piggy in The Muppets, pops up here as one of the inmates in the Russian gulag.
Walter briefly uses his whistling again - Not for entertainment purposes this time, but to get everyone's attention so he can ask about the strange behavior "Kermit" has been displaying lately. We also see Walter wearing his Kermit the Frog wristwatch, an item shown to be of great importance to him in The Muppets.
During the end, in which the Muppets tell Nadya that if Kermit goes back to the gulag, then so do they, one can't help but think of the similar "Kill Jim and you'll have to kill me!" scene in Muppet Treasure Island.
Like The Muppets Take Manhattan, Piggy has a wedding at the end, only here it's with Constantine instead of Kermit. And this time, it's Piggy who hesitates on saying "I do", but the Muppet crowd still leans forward in anticipation.
Camera Abuse: Constantine literally smears vaseline on the camera to achieve a romantic effect while he promises he can give Miss Piggy "anything you want".
Card-Carrying Villain: Parodied—one of the villains is named Dominic Badguy and has a literal card with his name on it. And justified, because the business card is due to him posing as a promoter.
The Cast Show Off: Constantine gets a couple of flashy musical numbers, "I'm Number One" and "I'll Get You What You Want", and especially sounds good in the latter. It makes sense, because in addition to being a Muppet performer, Matt Vogel is also a singer and musician, and even had his own band (The Mighty Weaklings). Being the Spiritual Successor to Jerry Nelson (who also did a lot of singing during his heyday and was a talented musician in his own right) helps a lot.
Character Focus: Sam the Eagle who was little more than an extra in the previous film is much more prominent this time around.
Comically Missing the Point: Walter, upon seeing Dominic bribing critics with suitcases full of money: "Where does he keep all those suitcases?"
Creator Cameo: Steve Whitmire, Kermit's puppeteer, appears as one of the prisoners at the gulag Kermit gets taken to, for the sole purpose of not having to figure out how to hide Whitmire when a mob of prisoners carries Kermit away.
When the credits begin to roll, Sweetums is seen pulling them up on a rope slowly. Fozzie enters to help him by pulling on another rope, followed by Rowlf and the Swedish Chef. By the time the cast list almost completes, Dr. Bunsen Honeydew arrives with an invention made to make the credits scroll up on their own. He pushes the button, but the credits scroll up way too fast.
In the middle of the credits, Fozzie comes in and says, "Check this out!" He then puts his hat on the "LOS ANGELES UNIT" text, which scrolls up.
At the very end, Fozzie returns and says, "The movie's over. You can go home now, Ma."
Damsel out of Distress: When Constantine tries to make off with Miss Piggy after their wedding was interrupted by Kermit, she quickly frees herself from her restraints and proceeds to beat the crap out of the impostor.
Dangerously Genre Savvy: Constantine. He correctly assumes Dominic will try to double cross him from the way he voices his displeasure and comes prepared for when he tries to make off with the crown jewels.
Epic Rocking: Dr. Teeth and The Electric Mayhem's "jam session" in Madrid, which was among many of the ideas Kermit vetoed before being replaced by Constantine. Animal performs a drum solo that goes on for hours.
Every Man Has His Price: Turns out Dominic has been greasing the palms of critics and audience attendees alike to fake the success of the world tour and keep the Muppets happy.
Evil-Detecting Dog: Animal is the only one not fooled by Constantine, causing Constantine and Dominic to spend the rest of the movie under the impression he's a canine.
Fake Shemp: Done for Jason Segel and Amy Adams at the very beginning of the movie.
Faux Affably Evil: Constantine, he's only trying to be polite for the caper and it shows.
Foreshadowing: The fact that Constantine constantly calls Dominic #2 and that the notorious criminal "The Lemur" is the second greatest thief in the world should get people to add two and two together.
Also that his e-mail address (shown on the business card) is email@example.com.
Did you wonder where they got multiple copies of the Lemur's calling card?
Spain's critics/papers on the show being printed so fast.
The song "I'm number one" continuously reminds Dominic that he will always be The Dragon and nothing more as long as Constantine's pulling the strings. The lines "Dance Monkey Dance" and "Now step aside, this ain't your show" foreshadow Dominic being the Lemur, his attempt at usurping the roll of Big Bad from his boss, and the Curb-Stomp Battle that ensues.
Celine Dion's appearance during "Something So Right" is heavily foreshadowed by Miss Piggy's requests to perform her songs (even performing "My Heart Will Go On" during the Dublin show) and a signed photo of Dion appearing just before the number starts in Piggy's dressing room.
Funny Background Event: While Jean and Sam are watching the Muppets perform at Dublin, one can see that Jean parked his car in the theater, and it fits perfectly in the aisle.
When Nadya prepares to sing her (cut) solo at the end of "Together Again Again," Kermit makes a face, as if trying not to laugh at the knowledge of the upcoming gag.
Genre Savvy: Nadya is able to anticipate all of Kermit's escape attempts because she has watched every prison escape movie ever made, even the ones in space.
Getting Crap Past the Radar: Pretty much every scene involving the inmates rehearsing for the revue, what with the insanely tight undergarments and midriff baring shirts.
For that matter, the pin-up of Piggy Kermit kept in his cell. Um...that's an awfully racy picture for a kid's movie.
Go Through Me: The scene where the Muppets tell Nadya that Kermit's not going back to the gulag without them.
Hammerspace: While bribing some Irish newspaper writers, Dominic seems to pull money-filled suitcases from nowhere. Lampshaded by Walter.
Happy Ending Override: Those millions of Muppet fans that appeared at the end of The Muppets to lend their support to the gang at their time of need? Yeah, those were just extras and paid dancers. Nobody still cares about the Muppets, as said multiple times throughout the first movie (and, as far as we can tell, they still don't by the end of this one).
Human Ladder: The Muppet Ladder routine, which is first mentioned as never working out, then pulled off successfully to help rescue Kermit and Piggy.
Hyper Competent Sidekick: Dominic does more than the lion's share of work, both on the actual heists and keeping the charade going.
Hypocritical Humor: Miss Piggy is furious that Constantine tried to trick her into marrying him ignoring how often she tried that on Kermit.
Pepe, concerning Constantine (in the extended cut):
Scooter: "Two Kermits?! ...Well, that explains a lot."
Rowlf: "I knew no one could have a cold for that long."
Pepe: "Or have that cheesy an accent, okay."
Idiot Ball: Virtually all of the Muppet cast who isn't Animal and eventually Walter. In all fairness the physical differences between Constantine and Kermit are pretty subtle, but "having a cold" in regards to having a different voice doesn't make sense. If Kermit had a different voice because of said cold, shouldn't he be resting instead of doing a weeks/months long tour? Even if Kermit was being a Determinator and overcoming his "cold" then how does that explain how un-Kermit-like he's been acting, going from being tough yet reasonable to "do whatever the hell makes you happy" attitude? The real Kermit is justifiably pissed off at the rest of the cast.
Immediate Sequel: The movie literally opens as the gang finishes singing the reprise of "Life's a Happy Song" from the end of the previous film.
In Memoriam: "In Memory of Jane Henson and Jerry Nelson" appears at the very end of the credits. Jane was Jim Henson's widow and Jerry was an active Muppeteer from The Sixties onward.
Karma Houdini: Bobby Benson's babies help Constantine and Dominic at one point, but don't get any consequences. Though they are shown in the gulag with the Muppets and various celebrity cameos during the finale, but it's not said whether they are there because of their crime or just there to be part of the finale.
Although, the fact that they do not get to come down from the wall with the other Muppets, implies that they might be prisoners.
Floyd, Janice, Rowlf, Rizzo, '80s Robot, Sweetums, and other innocent Muppets remain on the wall as well. So probably not. Besides, the're not dressed in Gulag attire like the prisoners are.
Kill and Replace: Constantine pulls off a family-friendly variant of this trope; he disposes of Kermit by sending him to the gulag and subsequently masquerades as him for the majority of the movie.
Offscreen Teleportation: When Jean says he's going on vacation with his family, his family is suddenly standing beside him wearing and holding vacation gear, with no-one else there the previous scene, or any indication they were nearby. Well of course that's the joke
Ominous Pipe Organ: Uncle Deadly plays one at Constantine and Miss Piggy's wedding, albeit innocuously—he has no more idea what's happening than anyone, and it seems to simply be a natural outgrowth of his love of Horror Tropes.
Out of Focus: Lampshaded by Rizzo, who comments about how Walter's inclusion has pushed more established characters like himself (and Robin) into the background.
Walter himself, as well. Until he and Fozzie discover the truth about Constantine at the beginning of the final act, he's barely in the movie, with only a few lines here and there.
Also Bobo and Uncle Deadly, who go from fairly major characters to just brief cameos near the end.
Paper-Thin Disguise: The entire plot hinges on the fact that absolutely no one, human or Muppet alike, can see that Kermit and Constantine are completely identical, apart from Constantine's mole (and slight underbite).
Product Placement: Fozzie is eating a meal from Subway (with the drink cup's logo prominently displayed on screen) and this is actually a plot point. The avocado from his sandwich landed on the picture of Constantine in the newspaper he was reading, which helped him and Walter to realize that "Kermit" was Constantine the whole time.
Coincidentally, in Real Life, Subway did a tie-in for the movie offering bags.
Also, UPS delivers Sam's biggest badge, a moment after it seemed Jean had the biggest badge.
Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: Fozzie, Walter and Animal, arguably, as they go to break Kermit out of prison and then all go to stop the wedding.
Reality Ensues: Nadya arrests Kermit for escaping from the gulag (though it seems his arrest has more to do with leaving before the gulag revue ended). She only lets him go after the other Muppets ask her to arrest them, too.
Red Baron: "I am Constantine... World's most dangerous frog."
Dominic: I want every seat in the house filled. Give tickets away if you have to.
Critic: Well, it's the Muppets. It won't be easy.
Sequelitis: invokedLampshaded to hell-and-back in the opening number, "We're Doing a Sequel". The first verse ends with "everybody knows the sequel's never quite as good", and it only escalates from there.
Bunsen Honeydew points out in the same song that this is actually "the seventh sequel to our original motion picture," though an argument can be made that the number is even higher should one count multiple Made-for-TV Movies.
The sequel idea the Swedish Chef suggests at the beginning of the film is really just The Seventh Seal.
Constantine watches footage from Sesame Street, The Muppet Show and The Muppet Movie to nail Kermit's voice down. The fact he studied the Street may also explain why he expects the Muppets to learn "something about sharing, or waiting your turn, or the number 3".
Matt Vogel, Constantine's performer, took over the Count von Count character when Jerry Nelson died in 2012, so the "number 3" may be a reference to that as well.
It might simply be referring to how most people don't know the difference and usually consider Sesame Street and The Muppet Show the same thing.
Something Only They Would Say: Or not say in this case. The gulag inmates instantly realize it's not Constantine when Kermit thanks them for the improvised crown. Constantine never thanks anyone for things.
And again when Piggy identifies the correct frog as the one whose response to "Will you marry me?" is not a confident yes, but an inability to spit it out.
Spinning Paper: A series of British Newspapers announcing the wedding culminating in a copy of The Times which lampshades the News Monopoly with a headline about how it's such a slow news day the Muppets are getting the front pages. Other sequences start with the spinning, blurred newspaper, but end with a TV on which the Muppet Newsman reads a report.
Squashed Flat: Fozzie, after posing as a bear-skin rug and having heavy luggage placed on top of him.
Stalker with a Crush: It seemed Nadya quickly figured out Kermit wasn't the criminal that belonged in her gulag. But her Stalker Shrine to Kermit in her locker implies she had her own reasons for keeping him in her gulag.
Take That: Lyrics for "We're Doing A Sequel" that were cut from the theatrical version of the movie but remain in the soundtrack as well as the film's extended cut:
Muppets: "We're doing a sequel! How hard can it be?"
The Starscream: Dominic does more of the heavy lifting and footwork on their caper while Constantine is rubbing in his face how he's a subordinate. No guesses for how Dominic planned to repay the treatment.
Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Jean and Sam at first, but it leaves them as dear friends by the time the film ends, and they exchange tearful goodbyes.
Too Dumb to Fool: Animal is the only Muppet not fooled by Constantine's Kermit impression.
Took a Level in Dumbass: Every single Muppet falls for Constantine's charade, except Animal. Kermit pretty much blows up in Walter and Fozzie's face regarding this.
Kermit: "You mean all this time I've been locked in a Russian gulag, the one - not one single person from the Muppets except Animal noticed I'd been replaced by an evil criminal mastermind?!"
Took a Level in Jerkass: Again the Muppets, letting their own egos getting the better of them to the detriment of their stage show. Both of these elements are specifically being encouraged by Dominic to prevent them from noticing that Constantine is not Kermit.
Trailers Always Spoil: A lot of the trailers and commercials showed bits and pieces of the wedding. One TV spot released at the very beginning of 2014 even had Miss Piggy in the background, visibly wearing a veil. Entirely justified, since that climax was where most of the action was, but it's still jarring and could also be a factor in the film's underperformance.
Traveling at the Speed of Plot: Both Muppet and human characters have the apparent ability to transport themselves clear across Europe at the drop of a hat, while at other times their trips between locations are explicitly shown to take more than a day. See Artistic License - Geography for the absurd details.
Villain Decay: At the start of the movie, Constantine takes out a small army of armed Russian soldiers. By the end, Piggy simply grabs hold of him and thrashes him against the walls of his helicopter's cockpit.
Justified by Piggy's CMOA: "You may be the world's most dangerous frog, but you're still just a FROG!"
Villain Song: Constantine and Dominic have a Villain Duet with "I'm Number One [You're Number Two]" which is both about the bad guys' plan to pull off their heists and frame the Muppets, but Constantine reminding Dominic that he's nothing in Constantine's eyes.
The Voice: The prisoner inside the metal box in the gulag, who is only heard whenever his hatch is opened. He is finally let out in the end, played by Josh Groban.
Waif-Fu: A male variant. Constantine takes out several guards during his prison break in a decidedly Black Widow -esque manner, despite weighing only as much as a two-and-a-half-foot-tall felt frog.
What the Hell, Hero?: Kermit gives a big earful to Walter and Fozzie about how, out of all the Muppets, only Animal was the one who actually knew that Constantine wasn't him.
Why Didnt I Think Of That: When Walter tells Fozzie that Dominic has been bribing their audiences and critics into liking the show, Fozzie wonders why they'd never tried that before.
Will They or Won't They?: Lampshaded by the Muppet Newsman, who calls Kermit and Miss Piggy one of the most famous "will they or won't they" couples in the Muppet world.
With This Ring: The ring Constantine proposed with was also a bomb. Honeydew conveniently had Beaker in a bomb attracting suit, which resulted in a tug-of-war to get Piggy out of the ring before the bomb went off.