Seeing Sonic The Hedgehog share the big screen with his brightly-coloured pals Tails and Knuckles, ready to fight against the maniacal Eggman played by Jim Carrey sounds like a dream come true and for better or worse, ‘Sonic The Hedgehog 2’ absolutely delivers. The problem, as there usually is one residing in these video-game adaptations, is that this sequel ramps up all of the aspects of the first movie including the runtime. While ‘Sonic The Hedgehog 2’ can undeniably be described as a love letter to the franchise and the fans who adore it, bringing not only its iconic characters to life but also introducing the game lore into the films, there is one aspect that this movie falters in. As a sequel, this goes on a much bigger scale with even more characters and with it come a few questionable choices, namely some truly annoying humour and an entirely unnecessarily drawn-out sub-plot that contributed to the bizarre two-hour runtime resulting in a whole lot of over the top acting from the human characters and some horribly unfunny humour. Luckily though, when this movie does actually focus on Sonic, Tails and Knuckles which is a good chunk of the movie, it is a spectacular delight.
mild spoilers for ‘Sonic The Hedgehog 2’ are featured in this review.
As someone who genuinely adores the first movie because of its simplicity and its overall wholesome nature, I honestly didn’t mind the human characters. The town of Green Hills was presented in a very charmingly cartoonish manner. The relationship between Sonic and Tom Wachowski (James Marsden) was the heart of the movie and it totally worked for me. It was cute, well-executed and it paid off emotionally in the end. You can imagine my disappointment when the sequel decides to instead focus on the human side characters and actually side-track the Wachowskis. The only reason those side characters worked in the first movie was because they were used sparingly. Here there are scenes that felt excruciatingly long with characters like Robotnik’s assistant and that idiot police officer who easily have the most annoying and grating scenes in the entire movie. There is even an entire subplot revolving around a wedding that outstayed its welcome fairly quickly in the second act when it became a badly acted rom-com.
With a runtime of two hours, it’s very easy to tell which scenes should’ve been cut or shortened yet this movie commits to keeping everything. There is even an entire dance battle sequence with the outdated choice of using ‘Uptown Funk’, news flash, it’s not 2014 anymore. The floss dance is once again brought back, this time by Robotnik and it’s just such an eye-rolling moment. It was funny in the first movie, I mean Sonic is a teenager, it’s in character but why repeat it again in the sequel when it’s outdated. It’s a stupid nitpick, truly but when you consider the lazy pop-culture references that neither kid nor adult will find funny, it really stands out how unfunny these two hours are. It’s quite unfortunate because you can tell these actors are committing to the campiness of the movie, it’s really the script that fails them. Not even Jim Carrey’s over-the-top performance is safe as it goes back and forth between Carrey himself lending his own flair to the humour and him just delivering lines. There are moments where Carrey is genuinely hilarious but I would be lying if I didn’t say that the first movie utilized him in a much better way. There is something embarrassing and awkward about seeing this movie try so hard to be funny only to not even elicit a reaction from the many children present in the audience. It was dead silent, well apart from the frequent chuckle I let out when I caught a reference.
Despite those glaring problems, ‘Sonic The Hedgehog 2’ is still a movie I deeply respect. Considering how horrific that first teaser trailer was four years ago and where we are now, it’s quite honestly a miracle. I mean, the recreation of the original 1992 poster for the second game is a godsend. My love for that poster is indescribable. The amount of care put into this movie is palpable, you can tell they did their research and wanted to make the fans even happier this time around. It genuinely feels like a celebration of the franchise. Seeing Sonic, Tails and Knuckles share the screen was hypnotic and surreal. I still can’t believe that this movie exists. The voice-cast did an excellent job. Ben Schwartz is an excellent Sonic, Colleen O’Shaughnessey is the perfect Tails as expected but Idris Elba’s Knuckles was the highlight of the movie. Elba’s commitment to the seriousness of the role made for some truly hilarious scenes.
They went above and beyond to make sure that this is the ultimate Sonic movie and it truly is. Even when I have only seen the first arc of ‘Sonic X’, there were so many references that I caught enthusiastically. I cannot imagine what fans of the games felt like watching this movie. On that note, just like the first movie, this movie made me want to go out and indulge in more Sonic content. I am playing the first two games and I am planning on watching the arc this movie was merely based off of in ‘Sonic X’ and for the love of God, I need Sonic and Tails plushies. This is a movie that made me want to become a bigger Sonic fan so I can revisit it to appreciate it more and believe me when I say that rarely ever happens. This fact alone puts this higher than ‘Uncharted‘ as an adaptation because while that movie completely mistranslated the tone and the characters, this one translated the iconic characters perfectly and it is paying off handsomely as this movie is breaking box-office records left and right. Even if I’m not the biggest fan of this movie, I am so happy that it is as successful as it is. I am so happy that this generation of kids has a faithful interpretation of these characters to grow up with just like I did.
Overall, a fitting analogy for this movie would be a mighty full chili dog where the sausage is slightly off and the bread is slightly stale but the chili itself is so warm and delicious that it eventually overpowers those flaws. For even more clarification, Sonic, Tails, Knuckles and the overall lore is the saving-grace chili. After I watch the next 13 episodes of ‘Sonic X’, I would like to revisit this and maybe I’ll have a better response but as it stands, ‘Sonic The Hedgehog 2’ is two hours of glorious Sonic goodness trapped in an obnoxious script that never allows it to be more than a children’s movie, not even a family movie.
‘Sonic The Hedgehog 2’ is now showing in theatres.