Fun nostalgia-driven sequel surpasses the original
When Sonic The Hedgehog dropped its first trailer back in 2020, the internet was outraged at the hideous design of Sonic. And rightly so. God damn that was one horrific nightmare.
In a rare case of studios actually listening to their fanbase, Sonic was subsequently redesigned and dropped in theatres to a pretty good reception from audiences. Critics maybe not so much, but as a massive fan of Sonic the Hedgehog (having collected a lot of the issues for Sonic the Comic and playing all the games) the first film did well to pay homage to the blue hedgehog. It wasn’t amazing, but it was a fun ride for families, with kids and adults alike taking to the hyperactive blue hedgehog.
Fast forward to 2022 and with Jim Carrey reportedly hanging up his illustrious acting boots, Sonic the Hedgehog 2 takes everything that worked in the first movie and expands on the lore, ideas and story beats from that picture to produce an enjoyable, family-friendly adventure. There are a lot of nods to the game here, and it’s helped by the arrival of two of the more iconic members of the Sonic roster – Miles “Tails” Prowler and Knuckles the Echidna.
The story is quite straightforward and begins with Doctor Robotnik (Jim Carrey) finding himself stranded on the mushroom planet. Settling in for the long haul, he hits a break when a portal opens up to reveal Knuckles (voiced by Idris Elba), a crazed red echidna with a serious chip on his shoulder. He’s desperate to find Sonic (voiced by Ben Schwartz) and make him pay for the slaughter of his people, something that links back to Longclaw and the fight that gripped the start of the original movie.
In order to stop Sonic, Knuckles is also after the Master Emerald, the largest and most powerful emerald that can give its wielder unimaginable power. With Knuckles and Eggman working together, Sonic finds himself up against the ropes. That is, until Tails (voiced by Collen O’Shanussy) jumps in and helps his idol to try and thwart this threat and save the day.
One of the biggest problems with the first Sonic film came from the emphasis on the human characters. Specifically, Tom (James Marsden) and his partner Maddie (Tika Sumpter). This time, the pair are carted off to Hawaii for a wedding while Sonic does most of the heavy lifting.
This subplot does become more prominent later on in the movie but honestly, the 20 minutes dedicated solely to the human characters could have been cut altogether. It’s not funny, it’s incredibly cheesy and it does absolutely nothing for Sonic and the gang. In the showing I attended with my son, a lot of people were restless.
Those issues aside though, Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is great fun and a love letter to the fans of this franchise. There are so many Easter eggs and nods to the game; from Sonic taking in air bubbles underwater to his trademark spin attack; this movie has clearly been designed with a love for the videogames.
When you compare this to the writers of the new Halo TV show, proudly proclaiming they’ve never played the games nor have any intention to (way to win over the fanbase there Paramount), Sonic 2 is pure, nostalgic fun.
The comedy is pretty much the same as it was the first time around, with plenty of self-referential nods to other movies and ideas, along with lots of slapstick, one big, colourful dance number, and plenty of silly quips. Oh, and of course Jim Carrey is here with all his usual typical, exaggerated mannerisms.
The visuals are also outstanding too, and the animators deserve a lot of praise here. There are a lot of extreme close ups of Sonic and his friends, where you really see a lot of the painstaking detail put into the fur and facial expressions. That extends all the way to the credit sequence too, which has a similar pixel-art style before the post-credit sequence sets up a potential future for this Sonic franchise. I won’t spoil that here but our accompanying ending explained will tackle that in more detail, don’t you worry!
If you enjoyed the first film. Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is essentially more of the same but bigger, better and with less human characters dominating the screen. That aforementioned 20 minute chunk aside, Sonic 2 is a brilliant family flick, one that adults and children alike will enjoy. It’s certainly not going to win any awards, but it’s a hugely fun way to spend a couple of hours. Roll on Sonic 3!
Read More: Sonic The Hedgehog 2 Ending Explained
Verdict - 7.5/10