‘Sonic the Hedgehog 2’ is bigger and more boring than the original
BROOKLYN, NY – Editor’s Note: This the review was originally published on April 8, 2022 as “Sonic The Hedgehog 2” hit theaters. It was reposted in light of the film’s recent premiere on Paramount+.
Although “Sonic the Hedgehog” lacked momentum and relied too much on Sonic’s hyperactive wisecracks, it was narratively economical, if only because the plot was quite thin.
“Sonic the Hedgehog 2” follows the classic sequel strategy of delivering more of the pleasures (or flaws, depending on your perspective) found in its predecessor. This obviously means more Sonic (voiced expertly by Ben Schwartz) and more of his mad scientist nemesis Dr. Robotnik, played by jim carreywhose wacky facial expressions could grace the big screen for the last time if his stated intention to retire from the film industry is confirmed.
The sequel is half an hour longer than the first and separates the set across the globe, from Hawaii to Siberia. Still, Sonic’s Quest still can’t support an entire film, no matter how outlandish or action-packed.
About “Sonic the Hedgehog 2”: Saving the World, One Filler Scene at a Time
Sonic (Ben Schwartz) in SONIC THE HEDGEHOG 2 from Paramount Pictures and Sega. Photo credit: Courtesy of Paramount Pictures and Sega of America.
Following the “bigger is better” philosophy, “Sonic 2” offers a more fantastical, high-stakes adventure than the first film, which primarily followed Sonic and his human friend Tom (James Marsden) on a road trip to San Francisco. A bigger mission inevitably requires more characters from the Sega video game franchise the movie is based on, like Tails (Colleen O’Shaughnessey) and the vengeful red echidna Knuckles (Idris Elba). That’s still somehow not enough for director Jeff Fowler and the film’s three screenwriters, hence the many tense digressions involving an oversized supporting cast, which includes Rachel (Natasha Rothwell), the goofy sister-in-law of Tom and Robotnik’s latte-obsessed assistant. Pierre (Lee Majdoub).
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Sonic, eager to grow up and become a hero, tastes independence when his now adoptive parents, Tom and his wife Maddie (Tika Sumpter), leave Sonic alone to attend Rachel’s wedding in Hawaii. Unfortunately, his reckless weekend plans go awry when Robotnik returns to Earth with the help of Knuckles, who believes Sonic knows the location of the Master Emerald – a mystical gemstone with the power to restore balance to the planet. universe (or send it into chaos).
Sonic is saved by Tails, who accompanies him on a mission to obtain the emerald before Knuckles. Meanwhile, Robotnik agrees to help Knuckles track Sonic and Tails, but secretly plans to steal the Emerald for himself.
Sonic’s race against time ultimately turns into a mission to save the world from Robotnik’s megalomaniac plans, but “Sonic 2” frequently deviates from the main story in filler sequences, such as a dance battle. on “Uptown Funk” and a catfishing subplot it’s not exactly appropriate for kids. Between these desperate comedic scenes, “Sonic 2” tries to draw family lessons about friendship and maturity, Tails’ social alienation (due to his two tails), and Knuckles’ grief over the loss of his tribe for superficial pathos. Sadly, these emotional moments are so mundane and discarded that they barely register as anything more than a simple acknowledgment that, yes, teamwork makes the dream work.
See “Sonic the Hedgehog 2” for a Jim Carrey Variety Show
Jim Carrey in Sonic The Hedgehog 2 from Paramount Pictures and Sega. Photo credit: Courtesy of Paramount Pictures and Sega of America.
Despite the script’s myriad flaws, Carrey’s performance livens up “Sonic 2” by a decent amount. Carrey was only able to stretch his comedic muscles briefly in the first “Sonic,” where Robotnik was mostly defined by his haughty attitude. But “Sonic 2” gives Carrey ample opportunity to lead the spotlight and make a meal out of every moment. He puts his unique topspin on every line of dialogue so even the exposition sounds crazy. In fact, when the movie allows him to vamp, it often becomes a Jim Carrey variety show.
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In the hands of a lesser actor, Robotnik would simply be an austere mustachioed villain, but thanks to Carrey, Robotnik’s absurd mustache becomes a fun gag. His over-the-top performance doesn’t exactly solve the inherent problems of “Sonic 2,” but it does suitably serve as a reminder of what a comedy star looks and sounds like operating on his own wild wavelength.
Jim Carrey and Knuckles (Idris Elba) in Sonic The Hedgehog 2 from Paramount Pictures and Sega. Photo credit: Courtesy of Paramount Pictures and Sega of America.
Fans of the “Sonic” franchise will likely be pleased to see references to the game’s lore (like the Chaos Emeralds) and an animated final battle that looks convincingly like the final level of a “Sonic” game. However, those not satiated by the video game allusions will be left pondering or frowning at many of the film’s odd choices: grating for product placement shoutouts at the Four Seasons, Uber, Olive Garden and Chevy; dialogue sprinkled with dated nods to pop culture, for example to Limp Bizkit; the list continues.
These moments stick out like a sore thumb as “Sonic 2” rarely bothers to engage minute by minute, almost as if it’s relying on the audience for a few bathroom breaks. Sometimes bigger is better, but with “Sonic 2”, bigger means it’s just more boring.
“Sonic the Hedgehog 2” is currently streaming on Paramount+ and available for purchase on digital platforms. It will be available for hire from June 7. Rated PG. 122 minutes. Dir: Jeff Fowler. With: Ben Schwartz, jim carrey, James Marsden, Idris Elbe, Colleen O’Shaughnessey, Tika Sumpter.
About the writer: Vikram Murthi is a freelance film and television critic. His work has appeared in The Nation, The AV Club and Filmmaker Magazine, among others.
Knuckles (Idris Elba) and Sonic (Ben Schwartz) in Sonic The Hedgehog 2 from Paramount Pictures and Sega.
Pair “Sonic the Hedgehog 2” with “Tales of a Fifth Grade Robin Hood”
Tales of a Fifth Grade Robin Hood (2021): Jon Lovitz gets a little mustache trick (metaphorically speaking) in this kid-centric back-to-school comedy (Chase Brown) at an underfunded city high school and his battle with his dishonest vice principal (Lovitz). “Tales of a Fifth Grade Robin Hood” is a Tubi-Original. Rated TV-PG. 84 minutes. Dir: Dylan Vox. Also presenting Stephen Kramer GlickmanIliana Isabelle Perez, Jayden Scala.
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