‘Sonic the Hedgehog 2’ Review

To expand upon my quick thoughts in the video, Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is an action-adventure film based on the video game franchise of the same name, directed by Jeff Fowler from a screenplay written by Pat Casey, Josh Miller, and John Whittington. Featuring Ben Schwartz, James Marsden, Tika Sumpter, Natasha Rothwell, Adam Pally, Shemar Moore, Colleen O’Shaughnessey, Lee Majdoub, Idris Elba, and Jim Carrey Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is the second film in the planned Sonic Cinematic Universe (SCU). The story follows Sonic and his new friend Miles “Tails” Prower as they team up to find the Master Emerald before the evil Dr. Robotnik and his echidna warrior, Knuckles, locate it first.

About a year after the events of the Sonic the Hedgehog, a bald Dr. Robotnik (Jim Carrey) is working on a way to escape fungi-filled Mushroom Planet. Utilizing various mushrooms, parts from his ship, and a quill from Sonic, Dr. Robotnik sends an energy signal into space that is answered by Knuckles (Idris Elba). Recognizing the energy comes from his home planet Mobius, Knuckles asks where Robotnik received the quill. Robotnik tells him about Sonic and they agree to form a partnership and head to Earth.

Meanwhile, on Earth, Sonic (Ben Schwartz) is operating as a vigilante in Seattle, Washington. He utilizes his super-speed to stop a bank robbery and subdue the criminals, destroying an entire city block in the process. He returns to the Wachowski home in Green Hills, Montana, having to sneak past his adoptive parents. Maddie (Tika Sumpter) comes into Sonic’s room just as he’s about to fall asleep and reminds him of his fishing trip with Tom (James Marsden). While fishing, Tom talks to a sleepy Sonic about his late-night reckless vigilantism. He advises Sonic to be more patient and that a time will come when he is truly needed.

Movies based on video games have been some of the hardest features to successfully adapt to the big screen with Detective Pikachu (2019) being the first to receive universal praise. Whether it be changing the story or character designs, fans seem to be hesitant in accepting the differences. This was almost the case with Sonic the Hedgehog, which faced immediate pushback after the first trailer was released. Following the negative reaction, Paramount delayed the film by three months to redesign Sonic, and with the release of the second trailer, fans were pleased. Releasing right before theaters shut down due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, the film was a success both critically and financially leaving the sequel all but a sure thing with it being announced a mere three months later.

Sonic the Hedgehog 2 leans more into the source material than its predecessor with the story being adapted from multiple video games including Sonic the Hedgehog 2, Sonic the Hedgehog 3, and Sonic and Knuckles. Dr. Robotnik is now bald with a large untamed red mustache, we get to see Tails fly a red biplane similar to the Tornado from Sonic the Hedgehog 2, Sonic fights Dr. Robotnik’s Death Egg Robot on a bridge reminiscent of the final boss fight in Sonic the Hedgehog 3, machines shaped like insects, and of course, the fan-favorite Super Sonic transformation (inspired by the Super Saiyan transformation in Dragon Ball Z) that first appeared in Sonic the Hedgehog 2. Tom’s ringtone is even the background music from the Green Hill Zone, which fits as his hometown is also named for the famous level. We even get to see Sonic inhale an underwater bubble though they missed an opportune moment to incorporate the drowning tune from the games into the score when he starts having trouble. Still, with all the fun callbacks and references, the story makes time for a message about friendship and forgiveness.

While I feel Fowler does as good a job directing this movie as he did with the first there are some missteps. The film runs a bit too long, coming in around 20 minutes longer than the first movie. There is an entire sequence involving a wedding in Hawaii that could have been cut and not hindered the rest of the story. The over-the-top humor is more prevalent this time around to the point where it becomes distracting. Some plot elements are forgotten and others require suspension of disbelief to take a front seat.

Overall, the movie is fun and the performances are entertaining. Whether you’re a fan of the original games or new to the franchise, there’s a lot to enjoy. I give Sonic the Hedgehog 2 a Decent 7.5/10. Very interested to see where the story goes in the recently announced Sonic the Hedgehog 3 and Untitled Knuckles Series for Paramount+!With how this movie ended it looks like Sonic Adventure is the next game to be adapted.

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