Sonic the Hedgehog aka ‘blue justice’ is back for his second strike with Sonic 2, bringing new friends and old foes for a globe-trotting family adventure
Back in the early 90s, before the dawn of the Xbox/PlayStation era, the console wars were a fierce viscous battle between Nintendo and Sega fans. Despite their more than level pegging, Nintendo always maintained the edge due to their iconic plumber Mario. That was until Sega let their blue speed demon loose. Unfortunately, Sonics fortunes fell alongside that of Sega when the company stopped manufacturing consoles.
After nearly a decade of obscurity, mediocre games and crossovers with his one-time rival Mario, Sonic returned to the ‘A’ list with the surprise first Sonic movie in 2020. The character worked better in the live action environment than anyone could have expected. Not one to miss an opportunity, Paramount and Sega dove straight back in working on a sequel and little more than a year and a half, we have Sonic 2
Despite its speedy turn around, this is not a quick cash in. The love and passion that has been poured into this is apparent from the very first scene. Every effort has been made to ensure this is an authentic Sonic experience for old school Sega fans and those that loved the first film. Director Jeff Fowler returns to direct this sequel and is clear to see that once again he understands the assignment
There are easter eggs galore and references made that those familiar with Sonics lore from his gaming heyday will recognise. While the pop culture references were still present, they appear to have been dialed down a touch from the first film.
The film picks up more or less where the original ended. We find Sonic (Ben Schwartz) living as an adopted ‘child’ of Tom Wachowski aka ‘donut lord’ (James Marsden) and his wife Maddie (Tika Sumpter). Sonic sneaks out at night to moonlight as the hero ‘blue justice’, fighting crime but making a mess of things along the way.
The devious and diabolical mad genius Doctor Robotnik (Jim Carey) has been driven even further insane during his time stranded on the mushroom planet but manages to find a way to escape with the help of his newfound villainous partner Knuckles, played by newcomer to the franchise Idris Elba. Both the good guys and bad guys begin a globetrotting quest to find a long-lost green emerald which grants incredible power to whoever holds it (think of it as Thanos with all 5 power stones)
If you were never a fan of the Sonic games back in their day and you didn’t care for the first movie, I’m not quite sure why you are considering watching this! There isn’t anything here that will change your mind. This film is clearly not here for Oscar worthy performances, or to provide a plot or story that would stand up to reasonable scrutiny.
This film is two scoups of family fun and a scoup of fan service, rolled together in a tidy package which should delight its intended audience as well as those who are still kids at heart, looking for some lighthearted entertainment.
The movie is as bright and lively as you would expect from such a colourful video game. The sonic speed effect and the character animations blend perfectly with the live action and feel well weighted in the world around. You never believe they are real but there are no moments where the animation detracts or pulls you out of the important moments in the action.
The returning cast are still great and fully committed though noticeably, James Marsden’s role appears to have been reduced from the first film while Tika Sumpter and her sister Racheal (Natasha Rothwell) get to have a lot more fun this time round. In terms of voice acting, Ben Schwartz still somehow manages to sound exactly how I would expect Sonic to sound.
While Jim Carrey’s Robotnik still gets to deliver most of the fun lines and comical performance, he has a lot less room this time than in the first film due to new characters Tails (Colleen O’Shaughnessy) and Knuckles (Idris Elba). Both made a fantastic addition to team Sonic but something about Idris Elba’s voice didn’t sit right with me. Every time Knuckles spoke, I just heard Idris and if anything did pull me out of the wacky gaming proceedings, it was his distinctive voice.
Sonic’s return is a victory lap for fans of the first film. It didn’t fall into the trap that most sequels do. It manages to continue the threads from the first movie while introducing some great new characters and threats to face. Its action-packed fun for the whole family that, while not taking itself too seriously, fully respects its source material and leaves us with a telling end credit scene, which sets up the inevitable third part in this series. Not a classic by any means but for 2 hours, simply suspend your grownup critical eye and enjoy the ride