Release Date April 8th, 2022
Genre Action
Studio Paramount Pictures
Director Jeff Fowler
Cast Jim Carrey, Idris Elba, Ben Schwartz, James Marsden, Tika Sumpter
Rating PG

I’ve always been a bit uneasy at film adaptations of video games. It seems like there haven’t been many great video game movies over the years nor do they really cover the games as in-depth as I would like them to considering the condensed format that you have with movies. For every movie like Tomb Raider or Resident Evil, there was a Doom or Super Mario Bros. That’s why I went into the Sonic The Hedgehog series of movies with some trepidation. Sonic is one of my favorite video game franchises of all time and one of the first games I ever played as a child, and as such, holds a special place in my heart. The first movie in the series was a good setup that, while not perfect, definitely filled me with some hope that this universe could have some longevity in the film space. The second film sold me on that hope with a movie filled with references to the game, the introduction of some of the most important characters in the franchise, comedy, and even some emotional moments.

The first Sonic The Hedgehog movie served to introduce audiences to Sonic and how he fits into Green Hills and the world around him while the second movie starts to dive into more of the Sonic universe and caters a bit more to fans of the series. There are plenty of references to the early games in the franchise and the addition of Miles “Tails” Prower and Knuckles The Echidna really rounded out the world and made it feel much more connected to the source material. Colleen O’Shaugnessey reprises her role as Tails here on the big screen and does a fantastic job. Colleen brings a sweetness to the character that I’m not so sure anyone else could have nailed quite as well. Tails is so likable and innocent that it’s hard not to enjoy the character every time he’s on-screen. His relationship with Sonic (voiced again by Ben Schwartz) is a big plot point of the film and brings with it some great character development for the blue blur. These two go together just as well as they ever did playing through the first games in the early 90s.

Idris Elba plays the role of Knuckles and he easily steals the show in this movie. Knuckles comes off as an incredibly serious character that manages to spew out some of the funniest lines in the movie. He also manages to be one of the characters that evolve the most over the course of the film. He is the exact opposite of Jim Carrey’s Dr. Robotnik character which makes their unlikely alliance that much more enjoyable to watch unfold. Speaking of Jim Carrey, has there ever been a better role for this man? It feels like the role of Eggman/Robotnik was tailor-made for him and he toes the line between losing his mind and calculated menace. Every hero needs a great villain and Jim Carrey embodies every quirky thing about Dr. Robotnik.

While Robotnik and the main characters from the franchise shine, the other human characters in Sonic The Hedgehog stumble. Sonic The Hedgehog 2 has a difficult time juggling the characters from the previous movie. This sees Tom (James Marsden) and Maddie (Tika Sumpter) traveling to Hawaii for Maddie’s sister Rachel’s (Natasha Rothwell) wedding. Tom and Maddie don’t get a whole lot of screen time but show up for the important moments while Rachel ends up being comic relief more often than not. I’m glad that Sonic’s adoptive parents weren’t just omitted from this movie but with so much focus on the video game characters, it really felt like their time on screen was shoved in more than organically included in the story.

Sonic The Hedgehog 2 does suffer a little bit from its length. This is a 2-hour movie and, while I wouldn’t mind a longer movie for more story elements, this film could have benefitted from being 20 minutes shorter which was about the length of its predecessor. The first half or so moves pretty quickly and kept me very well-engaged. The second half started to drag on a little bit with some slower moments that weren’t necessary to the story. This movie did a great job starting to establish this Sonic universe but there could have been some cuts that would have created a more cohesive and concise experience that would have kept audiences’ attention without the lull in the middle.

Even with the slow moments in the middle, Sonic The Hedgehog 2 was another step in the right direction for this franchise. There’s a lot more Sonic lore included in this one and fans of the game franchise will enjoy seeing pieces of their childhood come to life on-screen as I did. The characters from the Sonic universe come to life and interact just as you’d expect them to if you’ve experienced this franchise before while the human characters become a bit of an afterthought. It may run a bit longer than it needs to but this is a funny, action-packed adventure that kids and adults alike can enjoy.

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