Ladies and gentlemen, the furry blue blur is back! Sonic the Hedgehog (Ben Schwartz) is back in the appropriately titled Sonic the Hedgehog 2. This time Sonic isn’t by himself, Tails (Colleen O’Shaughnessey) his long time partner is also in tow with an even more chaotic Dr. Robotnik (Jim Carrey) on their heels and he has the brutal Knuckles (Idris Elba) on his side.
Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is the first film ramped up to the next level and that is both for better and for worse. I’ll dash into the bad first because honestly there are only two major issues in my opinion. First off we are still on Earth. The world that was created for Sonic in the video games all those years ago was one of a madman’s fever dream. There was an egg man who had enslaved a whole planet of animals, turning them into robot slaves and the only being to save them was a blue hedgehog that loved to run. It’s a mad concept with an even madder execution.
In Sonic the Hedgehog 2 there are few dramatic locales that will really blow your mind. Mostly we see Sonic, Tails, Robotnik and Knuckles battle it out in a house, a road and a snow-covered mountaintop. It is somewhat pedestrian. Thankfully there are areas that do capitalise on the ridiculousness of this franchise but I won’t spoil them here.
Another issue I had with the film is that it dates itself terribly with a plethora of pop culture references. When Sonic is dropping Marvel and DC names and doing an impression of Tom Cruise in Risky Business the writing feels cheap. This took me out of the movie every time it happened and it happened a lot. Now there is a third possible issue that involves a strange subplot involving James Marsden and Tika Sumpter’s characters. If it wasn’t for the fact that they still have a genuine connection with Sonic and the rest of the gang this would have completely fallen flat for me. It will definitely divide audiences in my opinion.
Sonic the Hedgehog 2 – Gotta go faster
Now onto the elements I loved about Sonic the Hedgehog 2. Jim Carrey is still hamming it up, gobbling down every bit of scenery possible and I loved it. He bounces off the rest of the cast so wonderfully. Ben Schwartz is once again a charmingly hyperactive fool and he goes on quite the journey throughout the course of the film. Seeing Tails and him together was quite a sweet moment as O’Shaughnessey brings her signature warmth to the character she has been with for so long. Then comes Idris Elba’s Knuckles the Echidna. He is hilarious, Elba plays him with such a deadpan charm that you can’t help but want the best for him even if he is against Sonic.
Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is filled with a lot of great moments. Many of them involve Sonic and Knuckles coming to blows. One such fight towards the end of the film between them is easily my favourite.
Perhaps my favourite element though is the theme at the core of the film, family. Marsden’s Tom and Sumpter’s Maddie are a wonderful family to the young hero. It is these moments and other moments dotted throughout the film that gives Sonic the Hedgehog 2 a surprising heart. Add to that a climactic battle that fans will adore and this could be the video game franchise that cinemagoers will return to again and again.
On a final note, be sure and stay to the mid-credit scene for a sneak peek of what is to come.
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