Sonic the Hedgehog 2
Sonic the Hedgehog 2 Cast: Ben Schwartz, Idris Elba, Colleen O’Shaughnessey, Jim Carrey, James Marsden
Sonic the Hedgehog 2 Director: Jeff Fowler
Sonic the Hedgehog 2 Stars: 3.5/5
The unfortunate thing about video game movie adaptations is that more often than not, they fail to match up to the exceeded expectations of loyalists and new fans alike. However, like a redemptive exception in 2020, after a much-needed redesign due to major backlash, Sonic the Hedgehog came like a breath of fresh air and proved that it’s possible to make hit video game movie adaptations, smashing box-office records even. A sequel was the obvious next choice but does Sonic the Hedgehog 2 continue the winning streak for the beloved Sega franchise? Let’s find out!
Kicking off where the previous instalment left us, Sonic the Hedgehog is now living the Earth-ly life with “Doughnut King” Tom and Maddie Wachowski (James Marsden and Tika Sumpter), but can’t help himself from seeking his adventurous “heroic” shenanigans. A particular “Blue Justice” failure in Green Justice has him confronting Tom and Maddie, who try to remind him that he’s just a kid and that there will come a time for him to be a hero. After Tom and Maddie whisk off to Hawaii for the latter’s sister Rachel (Natasha Rothwell) and Randall’s (Shemar Moore) wedding, Sonic’s hero avatar is beckoned almost immediately after as he has to face off against a returning vengeful Dr. Robotnik (Jim Carrey), who teams up with the hot-headed Knuckles the Echidna (Idris Elba), as both are on the quest for the Master Emerald, harbouring power over the entire universe.
Luckily, Sonic finds a swift sidekick in super fan Tails, a double-tailed fox, who readily joins the former’s mission to protect the Master Emerald from falling into evil hands. The foursome’s Indiana Jones-esque quest adventures ultimately land them in Hawaii, interlacing the worlds of the human characters and super-anthropomorphic creatures. While its predecessor helped sow the seeds of imagining Sonic in a “live action set-up” franchise, Sonic the Hedgehog 2 sets the stake much higher, by adding Knuckles and Tails to the mix. What we get is “crammed” fan service, however, it’s wildly entertaining all the same.
At an overdue duration of two hours, Sonic the Hedgehog 2 would definitely have benefitted by chopping off the extra half hour, including the 90s romantic comedy arc between Rachel and Randall, but Natasha Rothwell steals damn every scene she’s in (even from Shemar Moore’s ripped physique!) with her infectious comic timing, that we’re willing to sit through it happily. The family arc between the Wachowski’s and Sonic’s adventures is infused smartly, without feeling overtly preachy and not compromising on the video game elements and mythology, catering to fans and non-fans alike. Director Jeff Fowler, with writers Pat Casey, Josh Miller and John Whittington expertly balance the thrills and frills with an emotive storyline, fit for an entire family to enjoy in theatres. Even the constant pop culture references (with an epic dig at The Rock and Vin Diesel’s feud!) are timed well, though a tad too many to digest!
When it comes to the CGI, certain sequences have a suspension of disbelief aspect by stepping back from live action elements, giving us an entirely video game feel, but Luke Freeborn’s production design is a masterful ode to the original source. Some of the action set pieces are intricately crafted and a treat to watch on the big screen, especially when it involves Sonic and Knuckles having a go at each other, trying to one-up the other by super speed and strength.
When it comes to the performances in Sonic the Hedgehog 2, Ben Schwartz’s voice reprises Sonic with such energetic enthusiasm, that’s as fast-paced as the beloved character’s supersonic speed. And he’s bang on the witty train when it comes to the constant one-liners! Also, not missing a step in his over the top, villainous antics is the always brilliant Jim Carrey, with that neverending moustache, as he overdramatically adds even more theatrics (than was thought possible!) to Dr. Eggman that never stops being funny.
Fan-favourite Colleen O’Shaughnessey voices Tail’s exuberant persona with veteran power while Idris Elba as the powerful Knuckles is a welcome addition as well, balancing out the macho side of the echidna with his dry humour quirks at not being completely in tandem with how Earth works. It’s definitely an interesting route Idris takes when it comes to the vocal modulation in Knuckles’ portrayal, drastically different from Ben’s approach, but equally enticing. James Marsden and Tika Sumpter have a lot little to do this time around, but nevertheless, they manage to help elevate Sonic’s human side and have some touching moments, sprinkled here and there. Lee Majdoub as Stone, Robotnik’s obsessive loyalist gets a few laughs with his “latte” art.
In finality, Sonic the Hedgehog 2 surprisingly delights and will leave fans roaring with anticipation with what the makers have planned for subsequent instalments. P.S. Do stay back for the intriguing post-credits scene!