Following the events of the last film, Sonic is back in the Pacific Northwest as he attempts to help people by fighting crime as a vigilante. However, his methods tend to make the situation far worse and put the public in more danger as a result.
His friend Tom Wachowski (James Marsden) advises him to remain patient for the day his powers will be needed. That day comes sooner rather than later as Sonic’s archrival Dr. Robotnik (Jim Carrey) returns from his exile to the Mushroom Planet with a new scheme and new friend.
Robotnik hires Knuckles the Echidna (Idris Elba) to find the location of the Master Emerald in order to harness its great power. Knuckles’ power is too much for even Sonic to handle but he is saved at the last moment by a two-tailed Fox named Tails (Colleen O’Shaughnessey) who tells Sonic that he is here to protect him from Knuckles. The duo must work together to stop Knuckles and prevent Robotnik from obtaining the power that will put the entire universe at his mercy.
Director Jeff Fowler and screenwriters Pat Casey and Josh Miller are all back for a second go and their approach to this movie is if it isn’t broke, do it again. For Sonic fans, “Sonic The Hedgehog 2” stays true to the source material and the tone of the comics. Many classic Sonic levels are used as cinematic inspiration such as Labyrinth Zone and Rusty Ruin from the Genesis era.
The visual effects have improved tenfold from the initial design that caused so much uproar in the first place. The film is CGI heavy but it is expected in order to bring Sonic and his friends to life on the big screen. The team at Marza Animation Planet deserves a mountain of praise for their efforts.
The voice acting by the newest additions to the franchise Idris Elba and Colleen O’Shaughnessey is stellar. Elba’s Knuckles is all business but is a fish out of water antagonist that learns he has more in common with his foe Sonic than he realizes. O’Shaughnessey’s Tails is the character that brings the most charm to the film and is the best addition to the movie. Ben Schwartz once again wins over audiences with his ability to bring everyone’s favorite gaming mascot (Suck it, Mario) to life and give Sonic the character depth that makes him more relatable to audiences.
Jim Carrey is back with an over-the-top performance that is peak Jim Carrey. His ability to switch between goofy in manor and menacing with his intellect keeps the film focused with a consistent threat throughout. True to the Sonic lore, Sonic 2 ramps up the rivalry between Robotnik and Sonic to a personal level.
Sonic 2 is a film with a strong message about family and friends. Sonic and James Marsden’s character Tom share a strong bond in the film that delivers a wholesome message for the younger moviegoers that they are targeting. There is a noticeable drop in quality whenever the film switches focus from our CGI titled characters to the human characters. The entire subplot involving the wedding of Maddie’s older sister Rachel does nothing for the film besides bring the story to a halt.
When the 2nd act twist is revealed to the audience, it only serves to make the subplot even more pointless and confusing. Every time the film pivots to them, you are stuck waiting like you are at the doctor’s office for the characters you paid to see to return and continue the movie.
Speaking of the character of Rachel (Natasha Rothwell), the film uses her as comedic relief with the only problem being she is not funny…at all. She gets to the point where you lose interest in the movie every time she is on-screen and if it wasn’t for a strong 3rd act, she would have made the movie far worse.
It also doesn’t help matters when most of your humor is pop culture references to modern movies to boot. I mentioned Jim Carrey earlier and while he’s animated enough to keep the film interesting for younger viewers, some adults may run out of patience with his over-the-top scenery-chewing.
With a runtime of just over 2 hours, there is at about 25 minutes of footage that could have been cut out in order to make a higher quality film such as cutting out every scene including Adam Pally. It wasn’t that long ago that movies based on video games had a horrible reputation based on quality. The Sonic The Hedgehog franchise is changing the game for the genre while laying the groundwork for its own future.
While most old-school Sonic fans are hitting middle age, this is very much a film for younger audiences and families. “Sonic The Hedgehog 2” isn’t groundbreaking but it is a serviceable sequel with plenty of entertainment for the family to enjoy.