The original Sonic the Hedgehog movie could’ve been a disaster. You may recall the original design of the character for the big-screen, weird teeth, and all. Fortunately, Sega and Paramount came to their senses, delivering a more traditional look and creating a fun family movie packed with high-speed bravado and a delightfully loopy performance from Jim Carrey as Dr. Robotnik. That paves the way for the inevitable Sonic the Hedgehog 2, which, surprise, is just as much fun.
That’s because instead of world-building this time around, it’s all about the power of new characters. Tails joins the party this time around, along with a very furious Knuckles, who is in cahoots with Eggman in an effort to find a mysterious emerald. This one stays more in tune with the game’s rhythm; and though it doesn’t always tell the greatest story, its manic energy and fun performances get it across the finish line. On top of that, it also sets the stage for a third film quite nicely.
Let’s Get You Up To Speed
The film follows Sonic as he fights crime at night and hangs out with his surrogate family during the day. This includes sheriff Tom Wachowski (James Marsden) and his wife, Maddie (Tika Sumpter). That duo sets off to Hawaii for Maddie’s sister’s wedding, leaving Sonic at home to relax with the dog. That is, until Dr. Robotnik (Jim Carrey, manic as usual) shows up, having escaped the mushroom planet he was confined to.
This time, he brought a friend – the relentless echidna Knuckles (Idris Elba, in one of his most fun roles yet). He takes an immediate disliking to Sonic as he tries to find out what’s up with the Master Emerald. Also showing up is Miles “Tails” Prower (voiced by Colleen O’Shaughnessey from the games), who lends a hand in tracking down this mysterious relic.
The plot can go all over the place, especially when it comes to the subplot wedding and the fury that comes from Maddie’s sister (a hilarious Natasha Rothwell). However, it all builds up to a fun conclusion, filled with a lot of surprises – including the one you’ve seen from the trailers.
Returning director Jeff Fowler keeps the film moving on. More importantly, he throws in plenty of Easter eggs, including a lot of nods to the games. Also, fans of Parks and Recreation should be in for a treat, but you have to listen carefully.
Backed By Solid Performances and Great Set Pieces
Sonic the Hedgehog 2 runs around two hours, longer than the first film. It definitely pads that time a bit, but fortunately, the movie never grows dull.
Even though the focus is more on the CG-animated characters than the humans (James Marsden and Tika Sumpter could’ve used a little more on-screen time), it still pays off. Idris Elba makes an outstanding Knuckles, even taking the time to get a few laughs. For that matter, O’Shaughnessey continues to be charming and fun as Tails.
Ben Schwartz returns as Sonic and continues to know the character very well. A lot of his references are fun, and, thankfully, he gets to, ahem, relish chili dogs a little more now.
Really, though, Jim Carrey pretty much steals the show. Looking more like Robotnik now and not so much Jim Carrey trying to be Robotnik, he pretty much nails the character. His loopiness is divine, and his motions are as hilarious as you might think. He hinted this might be his acting swansong. If so, he definitely goes out with a bang (though it would be great to see him return for another go-around). Also provided some laughs are Lee Majdoub as the returning Agent Stone (get a latte!) and Adam Pally as the humorous Wade.
Overall, it’s very well acted. As we said, some characters get better focus than others, but it sets the stage beautifully over the course of the film. Not to mention the awesome action sequences, particularly on a snow-covered mountain. Let’s just say you’ll be nicely reminded of Sonic’s snowboarding skills.
Oh, and make sure you stick around for the mid-credits. No spoilers, but you’re going to love this if you’re a fan of the series.
Sonic the Hedgehog 2, Gotta Go Fast!
It’s safe to say that Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is one of the better video game-themed films out there. It doesn’t entirely follow the game, but it pays tribute in so many loving ways. Plus a number of the performances are excellent, the CG battles are a blast, and the interaction keeps that long-running time running smoothly.
Get yourself to a theater and enjoy it. Maybe grab some chili dogs at the snack bar as well!
VIBE Rating: 7.5/10
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