MOVIE REVIEWS

REVIEW: ‘Sonic the Hedgehog 2’ brings classic Sega video game character and friends back to the big screen in new adventure

Apr 8, 2022, 10:02 AM
Knuckles (Idris Elba) and Sonic (Ben Schwartz) in Sonic The Hedgehog 2....
Knuckles (Idris Elba) and Sonic (Ben Schwartz) in Sonic The Hedgehog 2.
(Ben Schwartz)

SALT LAKE CITY — It feels like longer than two years has passed since the first Sonic the Hedgehog movie, based on the classic Sega video game franchise, set box office records and gave us a return to 1990’s-era Jim Carrey.

That’s probably because Sonic was essentially the last big box office draw–debuting mid-February 2020–before the COVID-19 pandemic hit in full force a few weeks later and shut theaters and Hollywood down for months.

Now, after all that’s transpired since then, here we are again with pretty much everyone from the first film back for Sonic the Hedgehog 2, along with a few other popular characters from the Sonic-verse making their big-screen debut.

THE STORY

Sonic the Hedgehog 2 continues the adventures of the ever-optimistic, fast-running, fast-talking hedgehog (voiced again by Ben Schwartz).  Because he’s an alien from another world, Sonic is supposed to be lying low in Green Hills, Montana, living with the town sheriff Tom (James Marsden) and his wife Maddie (Tika Sumpter).

But, hoping to be a hero, Sonic will sneak out at night and use his speed to try and stop bad guys in bigger cities like Seattle, attempts that don’t always go as well as he hopes.

When Tom and Maddie head to Hawaii for Maddie’s sister’s destination wedding, leaving the mischievous Sonic home by himself, that just happens to be when Jim Carrey’s Dr. Robotnik—who Sonic defeated in the first film–shows back up.

This time, Robotnik is accompanied by a large red Echidna named Knuckles (voiced by Idris Elba).  Knuckles’s species are sworn enemies of Sonic’s species and Knuckles, who conveniently has giant spiked knuckles, is chasing after a powerful emerald that he believes Sonic can lead him to.

But Sonic has some help of his own in the form of a clever, tech-savvy fox named Tails (voiced by Colleen O’Shaughnessey, who also voices the character in the video games), and the two must see if they can get to the emerald before their foes, and become they heroes they hope to be.

THINGS I LIKED

If you liked the first Sonic movie–and I really did–Sonic 2 is pretty much more of the same kind of kid-friendly action and humor. My kids loved it and I loved that they enjoyed it.  It took me a few minutes to get back into the world, but I did eventually settle in and enjoy the movie for what it was.

Visually, the character animation and some of the action scenes were as good as they’ve ever been, particularly during a fun snowboard chase down a nearly-vertical mountain slope.  The only time I ever thought about Sonic, Knuckles or Tails as CG characters were a few times when they had to physically interact with the human characters and it didn’t look QUITE right.

As someone who played the original Sega Genesis, there was some nostalgic fun with gaming Easter eggs tossed in for fans to spot. I mostly noticed the music and sound effects.

Marsden and Sumpter are still likeable in their roles and Adam Pally is well-cast again as the goofy sheriff’s deputy, though he doesn’t get nearly as much screen time in this outing. Natasha Rothwell and Shemar Moore steal a couple of scenes as Sumpter’s sister Rachel and her fiancee Randall.

I’ve long been a fan of Ben Schwartz, as well as 1990’s-era Jim Carrey physical comedy, though Carrey didn’t seem quite as funny to me this time like he did in the first movie.

WARNINGS

If you are not a fan of Schwartz or Carrey, then this could be a long two hours for you.  Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is rated PG, officially for action, some violence, rude humor, and mild language but it’s safe for all ages.

There is one mid-credits scene that sets up a third movie, so keep that in mind before leaving at the beginning of the credits.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Of all the hedgehog-centric movies I’ve ever seen, this is definitely in the top-2.

Kidding aside, I liked what writers , and came up with.  It honestly felt at times like I was watching a video game play out (quests, chases, boss battles, etc.) and considering this wasn’t a plot-heavy video game series in the first place, that deserves some credit.

Nailing the casting on the human characters with likeably and funny actors has also been a key to making this movie series much more watchable for me as a parent.

Andy’s Final Rating:  TWO & A HALF out of FOUR stars

WHERE TO WATCH

Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is playing only in theaters.  No streaming options at this time.


Hopefully you & your family found this review helpful! Andy Farnsworth does a weekly “What To Watch” segment for the KSL 5 Today morning news show and also hosts the Fan Effect podcast for KSL NewsRadio. Check out his other in-depth reviews of movies and streaming TV series on KSLTV.com.

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REVIEW: ‘Sonic the Hedgehog 2’ brings classic Sega video game character and friends back to the big screen in new adventure