Sonic the Hedgehog 2

Sonic the Hedgehog 2 review – no surprises in Sega's speedy-critter sequel | Movies | The Guardian

Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is an ideal sequel, committing to many of the best parts of the first while vastly expanding the sandbox in which it operates. The first Sonic was a fairly formulaic road trip romp, but this sequel bounces back and forth between being a superhero story, a fantastical adventure, a coming of age story, and a family comedy with the speed and precision of Sonic traversing a level from the games upon which these movies are based.              


Sonic the Hedgehog 2 sees our favorite speedy blue hedgehog Sonic (Ben Schwartz) on another adventure, this time even greater than his last. He’s found a home with humans Maddie (Tika Sumpter) and Tom (James Marsden), who in trying to be a father to Sonic, warns him of the great responsibilities that come with the power he possesses. Sonic, in the meantime, is acting as a vigilante, stopping robberies and preventing low-level crimes in the areas surrounding his hometown of Green Hills. When Maddie and Tom head to Hawaii, Sonic gorges himself on junk food, blasting music throughout his house, and takes full advantage of his “parents” absence until his celebrations are brought to a halt by the arrival of a familiar enemy. That’s right, Dr. Robotnik (Jim Carrey) has returned from his exile to a mushroom planet and he’s brought an angry, red echidna with him who also has beef with Sonic named Knuckles (Idris Elba). Fortunately, Sonic has a new ally in a double-tailed creature who wants to help him in his fight against Robotnik and Knuckles, aptly named Tails (Colleen O’Shaughnessey).


This may be a Sonic movie but you can’t cast Jim Carrey and not expect him to make every moment his own. Carrey is back and bringing more of the same hyped-up energy to Ivo Robotnik that made him stand out in the previous Sonic installment. Carrey is the only live-action actor in this movie constantly animated enough to rival that of the actual animated characters he interacts with. I will admit, sadly, there is less Carrey in this movie, but to be fair, that’s because there’s so much more going on. With the addition of Tails and Knuckles, Sonic the Hedgehog 2 goes all-in on the richness and arguably, the insanity of Sonic’s lore. And if the post-credits scene that drew excitement and cheers from the audience I saw this with is any indication, this is only the beginning of exploring the expansive worlds and cast of characters that come with Sonic. The inclusion of Knuckles makes the action more interesting because Sonic has an adversary operating on his level. And the visual flourish present in Knuckles’ red streak facing off against Sonic’s blue one is quite engaging. Director Jeff Fowler isolates that visual contrast numerous points, often in slo-mo, although these characters may have similar origins, but they have very different goals in mind. In what first felt like stunt casting, Idris Elba is great, playing a Knuckles that’s all menace. Elba’s rendering of Knuckles can almost feel like self-parody of the unflappably stern attitude he’s brought to other characters, but he’s more than happy to play along. 


Sonic the Hedgehog 2 actually attempts to mature its lead character a bit this time around. If Sonic was a little kid in the previous film, but here, he’s a rebellious teen, more naïve, more impulsive, and just barely keeping Robotnik’s plot under control that threatens him and everyone he loves. His heart’s in the right place, but until he embraces the message of a speech Tom delivers that feels straight out of a Spider-Man movie, he can’t be that hero he wants to be. Ben Schwartz’s performance follows suit, toning down Sonic’s more cartoonish mannerisms and fits of quippiness. We know this character, specifically Schwartz’s spin on him, so there is less need for the in your face  gags he’s exhibited before, Schwartz finds the humanity in this little blue hedgehog and pushes that to the forefront. It’s an intricate voice performance and I commend Schwartz for bringing it 2 times in a row now.


And Sonic the Hedgehog 2 admirably examines the delicate dynamic between Tom and Sonic. Tom wants to be a father to Sonic, but his son is an extraterrestrial hedgehog with speed that would make even the Roadrunner envious and he has the emotional swings of a teenager, sullenly dodging his pleas for moderation in the usage of his power set and then desperately asking him for assistance in fixing the mess he’s made. Sonic the Hedgehog 2’s takeaways from the experiences of this found family at the movie’s center, still figuring things out, but tighter than ever, aren’t eh the most complex, but it’s enough to pluck the heartstrings.


If you’d told me the most entertaining sequence in a Sonic movie would be a bride at a wedding that wasn’t as it seemed, smashing up ice sculptures and exacting revenge on her fiancé with a golf cart in the aftermath of a genuinely shocking twist, there’s no way I would’ve believed you. I wasn’t a huge fan of the first, but I must say this won me over. It’s a good, old-fashioned blockbuster with its heart on its sleeve, kind of bonkers, more laughs, larger action sequences, greater scope and it has the x-factor that is Jim Carrey. Sonic the Hedgehog 2 speeds into theaters on April 8th, 2022.

Sonic the Hedgehog 2 review - is the Sonic sequel any good?

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