Did anyone ask for another Sonic movie? Even if you didn’t, Sonic the Hedgehog 2 here and it’s not half bad. The titular character of Sonic (Ben Schwartz) and the Wachowskis (Tika Sumpter and James Marsden) are back to thwart Dr. Robotnik’s (Jim Carrey) plans for world domination. Along for the ride are newcomers Miles “Tails” Prower (Colleen O’Shaughnessy) and Knuckles the Echidna (Idris Elba) to make for a fun film experience for kids and adults alike, even if there a few hiccups along the way.
Almost a year after the events of the first film, Sonic and the gang are back. The blue blur is still getting a hold of the whole hero thing, of course. Life is peaceful, with the caveat of some destructive heroics, but that comes to halt when Dr. Robotnik comes back to Earth. With Knuckles by his side, they plan to obtain a power that will surely turn the tides and leave the Earth (and the rest of the universe) at their mercy, if Sonic doesn’t foil their plans first.
So first off, the voice acting is great. Hats off to Schwartz, Elba, and O’Shaughnessy. And while I’m sure acting with CGI extraterrestrials was no easy feat, the voice actors seal the deal and make it more believable. I must give a special shoutout to Natasha Rothwell (who plays Rachel). She may not have been a main character but she’s a scene stealer amongst the cast. Rothwell, Adam Pally, and Jim Carrey are here to up the comedy shenanigans but she definitely delivers the most laughs in each scene.
Another high point is the CGI. I guess after all that bullying about the OG design they had to up the ante somehow… and they did. Specifically, the snowboarding scene from the trailer is a standout. Additionally, the film feels grander, both in storyline, setting, and character incorporation. Therefore, the CGI had to follow suit.
It’s also worth it when you finally see three of the most famous Sonic the Hedgehog characters together and in action. The fight scenes are fun, especially between Sonic and Knuckles. And the main animated trio have a strong character build out, aside from their live-action co-stars. Sonic the Hedgehog 2 adds more motivation to their actions, which is yet another highlight in this film.
Still, there are a few bones to pick with this sequel, one of them being the jokes. Mostly delivered by Sonic and Dr. Robotnik, these jokes are in abundance; however, not all of them land. The titular character eventually finds a flow that’s full of various pop culture references. For example, there’s a callback to Schwartz’s character Jean-Ralphio Saperstein in Parks and Recreation that’s sure to stick with adult fans of the show. But Carrey’s Dr. Robotnik seems to struggle with pop reference inclusions that radiate secondhand embarrassment.
Carrey’s kooky antics aren’t anything unusual for the veteran actor. And typically they’re a nice complement to any film. But in Sonic the Hedgehog 2, what he naturally brings to a comedic role stays within the borders of cringey and annoying. Sure, the physical nature of his character is spot on. But the dialogue he shares with many characters becomes too much to handle. Add this to the film’s high levels of chaotic moments and the movie becomes a sensory overload.
While nostalgia and adult-level humor will keep parents engaged, the film’s creators still have to keep the attention span of another niche audience: children. The sensory overload certainly works where it’s at. But what makes Sonic the Hedgehog a great watch for all is its message of belonging in family, friendship, and in the world. It took super fast extraterrestrials to highlight it, but the point comes across nicely.
Pain points aside, it’s still a fun movie with enough chaos for kids to enjoy and enough nostalgia to pull at the heart strings of adults too. We’ll have to wait and see what else the Sega world holds for the iconic blue blur. Sonic the Hedgehog 2 hits theaters on April 8.