Extra Players: Our Review of ‘Sonic the Hedgehog 2’

Posted in Movies, Theatrical by - April 11, 2022
Extra Players: Our Review of ‘Sonic the Hedgehog 2’

Returning to theaters this weekend is the loveable creation of Sega Games. This film adaptation dominated the pre-pandemic box office back in 2020. That’s after going through a major character design on its CGI lead due to fan outrage, Sonic the Hedgehog. Almost the entire cast of that original film returns in Sonic the Hedgehog 2. Although this time around the story focuses more on the CGI creations for the first two-thirds of the film. This leaves most of the human cast with less to do this time around.

Sonic 2 picks up just less than a year after the original film ends and Dr. Robotnik (Jim Carrey) is still stuck on the mushroom planet. He creates a device to harness the power of the one quill he has from Sonic. He thus attracts the attention of Knuckles (voiced by Idris Elba), an Akidna warrior that is a sworn enemy of Sonic (voiced by Ben Schwartz).

The duo team up and head back to earth where we find a Sonic left alone at home without Tom the ‘Donut Lord’ (James Marsden). Tom and his wife Maddie (Tika Sumpter) have gone to Hawaii for Maddie’s Sister Rachel’s (Natasha Rothwell) wedding. But as the fight starts to go the wrong way, Tails (voiced by Colleen O’Shaughnessey) swoops in to help Sonic escape the ambush. Soon, the 2 duos are racing each other across the globe for an ancient emerald. But can Knuckles really trust Robotnik as a partner?

Sonic 2 switches up its focus from the first as this film is more a film about coming of age and recognizing a certain moment. A moment when you are called upon to be the hero instead of rushing foolheartedly into situations trying to create that moment. Its a hero journey for Sonic and Tails. And this smartly allows for the film to become a continuation of an existing story as opposed to falling into the trap that most sequels. Especially ones aimed at children, tend to make where so much of the story is simple rehashing that worked before. The film also introduces 2 new characters that inevitably help Sonic grow up. The film allows him to start forming his own ‘tribe’ with Knuckles and Tails. It’s a relatable script that highlights personal growth, camaraderie, and perseverance that will actually resonate with the audience.

The CGI work in Sonic 2 is actually better than the first film. This is probably due to the film having a better idea of the way the CGI characters should look heading into the film. Jim Carrey finally goes full Robotnik, mustache and all. He delivers his performance with all the manic energy and brilliance we’ve come to expect. This may be his final film, as he recently expressed his desire to retire. And this may not actually be a bad film to go out with.

Although the mid-credits (continuing the tradition set up in the first film) teased something. It may point to him coming back for at least one more Sonic outing. There’s less for the humans to due this time around. But most of them still deliver fine supporting performances. Standouts include Lee Majdoub’s returning Robotnik obsessed Agent Stone and the sparkling chemistry between Sumpter and Rothwell. Both 100% nail the sister dynamic.

Audiences who did not like the first film will likely not find a lot to grab their attention here, as Sonic the Hedgehog 2 features the same wisecracking hedgehog at its core. But fans of the first film, of which I personally am, will gravitate effortlessly to the sequel and anxiously await the third. The audience I saw this with all had a blast with the film, and there was a large audible gasp en mass once that one part of the credits started to roll.

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"Kirk Haviland is an entertainment industry veteran of over 20 years- starting very young in the exhibition/retail sector before moving into criticism, writing with many websites through the years and ultimately into festival work dealing in programming/presenting and acquisitions. He works tirelessly in the world of Canadian Independent Genre Film - but is also a keen viewer of cinema from all corners of the globe (with a big soft spot for Asian cinema!)
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