‘Sonic 2’ Was One of My Most Anticipated Films of the Year and It Was Way Past Cool!
5/5 chili dogs
When the first Sonic the Hedgehog movie was released in 2020, I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it. Video game movies have a track record that’s best left underwater with a countdown clock and no air bubbles, but Sonic’s road trip with James Marsden while trying to outrun a rather enjoyable performance by Jim Carrey’s latte-drinking Robotnik was a fun watch on Valentine’s Day.
That being said, I kinda felt like the first film was testing the waters on how much Sonic they could give us on the big screen. There’s a little bit of the lore and a decent amount of action, but the bigger focus is on Sonic getting used to our world (and everyone getting used to Sonic). While I very much enjoyed the first film, I’d hoped that the second would have more Sonic lore and bigger stakes, after all, this is a franchise where a blue hedgehog is often tasked with saving the world from an evil scientist.
Not only does Sonic 2 deliver on exploring more of the lore hinted at in the first film (Longclaw and the owls) and what’s been seen in the games (the Master Emerald), but there’s more action, more Sonic franchise characters, and major reveals that set up for even bigger plotlines in the future.
The delicious chili on the dog (the good)
What I like about this movie is that it feels like a Sonic the Hedgehog movie. That’s not to say the first one didn’t, but this second film is primarily focused on Sonic and Tails working together to stop Robotnik from using the Master Emerald’s power for his diabolical plans. This movie is straight-up Sonic 101, and with that comes some pretty exhilarating action sequences along with a lot more exploration of Sonic lore, which is a lot of fun if you’re a Sonic fan because you find yourself pointing out story beats from several of the games (apologies to my wife who had to listen to me fangirl during the car ride home).
While the film does see the return of the new human characters established in the first movie, I think they’re utilized a bit better this time around. It’s not perfect, but I do appreciate Tom (James Marsden) and Maddie (Tika Sumpter) doing more than just staring in bewilderment about there being an anthropomorphic hedgehog who makes pop culture references. I like that they get to be part of the action, and I like that they do it in a way that doesn’t overshadow the main characters.
This brings me to the part I like most about this film: Sonic (Ben Schwartz), Tails (Colleen O’Shaughnessey), and Knuckles (Idris Elba) feel like the main characters. Robotnik, of course, is included in that, meaning that the characters who have been a part of Sonic’s history for decades are the ones who feel like the stars of the story. The characters original to the film have their moments, but it really is about Sonic meeting Tails, Sonic facing off against Knuckles, and Robotnik trying to gain ultimate power.
Schwartz, once again, has an easy-to-love take on the blue blur. He’s got a good heart and is trying to do what’s right, but he doesn’t exactly know how to do what’s right. This is especially felt when he’s with Tails, who retains the ongoing character trait of good fox boy who looks up to Sonic and tries his best to help him succeed. O’Shaughnessey, who has been voicing Tails for a while now, gives an endearing performance as the two-tailed fox, and seeing the friendship between Sonic and Tails develop is a highlight of the movie.
I kinda knew that these two would bring it, as Schwartz delivered in the first movie and O’Shaughnessey has experience as Tails. I was really curious about Idris Elba’s take on Knuckles, and I’m delighted to say that he knocks it out of the park. Knuckles is one of the film’s biggest standouts, if not THE biggest standout. The way he plays off the other characters is fantastic, and I just got the sense of Elba having the time of his life as the character.
Why did it have to be water? (the “meh”)
There are parts of the movie that feel like they go for a bit too long. The jokes don’t always land, and there are scenes that feel a bit unnecessary in the grand scheme of things. This is also a movie where, sometimes, the solution to the problem is silly. Sometimes, the villain is wacky to the point of being absurd, and sometimes, a gag will overstay its welcome.
Even so, one thing I kept in mind during those moments is that Sonic 2 is a family film made with children in mind. The screening I went to had kids in the audience (some who brought Sonic plushies with them which, omg, so wholesome) and the moments I was kinda lukewarm about were fun to them, and honestly, it was kinda neat seeing a character I grew up with have staying power with younger generations. So yeah, we get a repeat of a character doing a Fortnite dance, and yeah, there’s some silly playground level humor at times, but the kids next to me were into it, and there was so much that I liked about the movie that it balanced itself out for me.
The final egg (final thoughts)
This movie brings me back to the days of being excited about my step-brother actually letting me play his Sega Genesis. To me, playing the Sonic the Hedgehog games felt like the most epic thing I could do as an eight-year-old who had to come in the house before the streetlights came on. There are moments in the film that felt exactly how I pictured them as a kid. Sonic VS Knuckles on the Genesis was a series of jump attacks, but in my head, it was a heated battle that had been built up over the course of several video game levels.
This movie captures that feeling.
You can tell that Sonic 2 was made by folks who have fond memories of the franchise. There’s so much for longtime fans to latch onto while also welcoming in newcomers who might not have been around to grab that second Sega Genesis controller to “play” as Tails. Along with that is a fun family film with characters learning what it means to be a hero, and what it means to be surrounded by people who will be there for you when you think you have to tackle the hard stuff all by yourself.
Sonic 2 is exactly what I wanted in an adaptation to one of my most beloved video game franchises. It shows that Sonic is a franchise that is full of adventure, laughs, and enough heart to handle a fresh order of chili dogs. I can’t believe I’m saying this about a video game movie, but I can’t wait for the third one.
(Image: Paramount Pictures)
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