'Sonic The Hedgehog 2' review: Fun sequel not as speedy or memorable as the first
Courtesy of Paramount Pictures
Of course, there was going to be a sequel to 2020’s sole box office hit “Sonic the Hedgehog” after it became the most successful video game adaptation mere weeks before the world shut down. To everyone’s surprise, Jeff Fowler’s breezy inaugural outing featuring society’s favorite blue mammal packed a light-hearted punch with fun voice work thanks to Ben Schwartz and a signature performance from Jim Carrey playing the nefarious egg-head Dr. Robotnix. It was a miracle “Sonic the Hedgehog'' worked after it underwent an extensive makeover following backlash from the original creature’s life-like design. So here we are, two years later, still emerging from the pandemic and between that time “Sonic the Hedgehog 2” was conceived and while it won’t surprise a soul it doesn’t come close to capturing its predecessors’ spirit; thanks to the addition of Idris Elba’s Knuckles and Colleen O’ Shaugnessey’s fan favorite Tails, it skirts by on sheer goodwill alone.
Picking up where the first movie left off, Sonic (voiced again by Schwartz) is still living in the small town of Green Hills with adopted family Tom (James Marsden) and his wife Maddie (Tika Sumpter) while trying to make a name for himself as a vigilante/hero with the nickname “Blue Justice.” He’s still got some learning to do and wants to be at the top without doing the necessary homework, a life lesson that might be lost on your toddler who just came to see Sonic stomp the bad guys. Speaking of bad guys, Robotnix is back after getting banished to the mushroom planet and with him is the same chaotic energy only Carrey, after demanding what I’m sure was multiple takes of the same joke, can manifest.
The villain is on the prowl for an ancient relic that harnesses all the power in the world and dates to Sonic’s ancestors and he’s got a new foe to help! That would be Elba’s tough-as-nails Knuckles, the last of his breed and someone with a bone to pick with our bushy haired, chilly dog loving hero. Along the way, we also meet the spunky and resourceful Tails whose gizmos have been tracking Sonic for the last few years. When each is on screen, the CG remains sound and even when the real actors are acting opposite something inanimate, they do a convincing job, and it keeps “Sonic 2” moving despite a nearly two-hour runtime that features an aimless wedding subplot.
The biggest Sonic fans in your life will certainly enjoy “Sonic 2” and the adults will find a competently made venture salvaged by color-coded, hyper fueled sequences. You’ll sit in your chair wondering why it took over two hours to reach its conclusion, but it’s harmless and serviceable enough to sustain Sonic in the cultural conversation until the inevitable third installment, which hints at some fun reveals, arrives. If the crowd reactions in my screening were any indication, “Sonic the Hedgehog 3” is about to go off the rails. Or should I say, tails?
SONIC THE HEDGEHOG 2 is now playing in theaters.