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Sonic the Hedgehog 2

Platform(s): Movie
Genre: Action/Adventure
Publisher: Paramount
Release Date: April 8, 2022


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Movie Review - 'Sonic the Hedgehog 2'

by Adam Pavlacka on April 8, 2022 @ 1:30 a.m. PDT

When the manic Dr Robotnik returns to Earth with a new ally, Knuckles the Echidna, Sonic and his new friend Tails is all that stands in their way.

The first "Sonic the Hedgehog" movie setup the basis for the rivalry between Sonic (Ben Schwartz) and Doctor Robotnik (Jim Carrey), but the second film escalates it all to an entirely new level.

The sequel picks up right after the end of the first film. Sonic has been adopted by Tom (James Marsden) and Maddie (Tika Sumpter), while Robotnik is marooned on the mushroom planet. Lured by Robotnik's experiments with one of Sonic's quills, Knuckles (Idris Elba) appears and cuts a deal to get Robotnik off the planet, so long as he leads Knuckles to Sonic. This sets up the basis for much of the film, with Robotnik and Knuckles facing off against Sonic and Tails (Colleen O'Shaughnessey reprising her role from the games).

While much of the plot is an excuse for Sonic and Tails to explore new locations around the globe, it also serves as a basis for Sonic to learn the difference between being reckless and being a hero. Just because he has powers doesn't mean he is invincible, as he quickly finds out. He also has to look out for Tails. Being reckless when you are flying solo puts yourself at risk, but when others are relying on you, it's a whole different ball game.

Visually, the film is a treat, and the constant pacing ensures that something interesting is always happening on-screen. The only bit that felt out of place was a random dance-off that kind of appears out of nowhere.

Another impressive element is how well the producers managed to integrate various bits from the Sonic games without feeling like they were shoehorned in. References abound, and without spoiling the story, anyone who played Sonic the Hedgehog 3 or Sonic & Knuckles on the SEGA Genesis should know what to expect from the final battle. The deep cuts abound, especially in the latter half of the film. There's even a nod to the spin-off puzzle game, Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine. Eagle eyes will want to keep a lookout for the Genesis-style manual that pops up at one point.

Elba's take on Knuckles is a mash-up that takes bits of Drax the Destroyer from "Guardians of the Galaxy" and mixes in Elba's own "Black Superman" villain from "Hobbes and Shaw." This Knuckles is super strong, extremely skilled, and ready to do whatever it takes to win, but he's also a bit naive, which sets him up to be taken advantage of by Robotnik. That same naivete also makes for some excellent one-liners along the way.

Speaking of Robotnik, Jim Carrey takes everything from the first film and turns it all up to 11. He is gloriously over the top here, a unique mix of genius and stupidity. He's a video game villain brought to the big screen, and he doesn't shy away from any element of the outrageousness.

Another stand-out character is Maddie's sister, Rachel (Natasha Rothwell). She had a small part in the first film, but that's been fleshed out into a full-on subplot here. Rachel has seemingly forgiven Tom and Maddie for tying her up in her own home and "borrowing" her car in the first film. Now, she's having her perfect dream wedding in Hawaii and is willing to let bygones be bygones, so long as not one messes up her perfect day. Of course, that doesn't happen, and again, things escalate way beyond what you might expect. It all works thanks to Rothwell's comedic timing.

"Sonic the Hedgehog 2" is both a better film than the original and a love letter to the original game franchise. It's perfect for kids who are new to the franchise as well as their Gen-X and Millennial parents who grew up playing the games.

Score: 8.0/10

"Sonic the Hedgehog 2" is rated PG and has a running time of 122 minutes. It is showing exclusively in theaters.

Editor's Note: Stay through the credits for a stinger sequence.

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