The Plot: Sonic The Hedgehog (Ben Schwartz) has settled into a life of blissful domesticity with Tom (James Marsden) and Maddie (Tika Sumpter), the growing child to his watchful parents. He still gets up to his antics though and his powers are soon called back into action when Dr. Robotnik (Jim Carrey) teleports out of his mushroom prison world thanks to the help of red meanie Knuckles (Idris Elba). They both have several bones to pick with Sonic, but help comes in the sprightly form of Tails (Colleen O’Shaughnessy). The duo set out to protect powerful jewel the Master Emerald from getting into the wrong hands and wreaking havoc…
The Verdict: With a weary sigh, it has to be admitted that videogame adaptations are notoriously difficult to get right. Part of that difficulty comes from translating and transferring a virtual character onto the screen successfully and keeping the character relevant to the passive film world rather than the interactive game world. While videogames have got more cinematic, films have stayed pretty much the same. Hollywood keeps on trying though, but Paramount found a hit on their hands two years ago with Sonic The Hedgehog just before the pandemic shuttered cinemas for months. The adaptation of the 1990s videogame just about got over the line, so here comes that difficult second act with Sonic The Hedgehog 2. Not so difficult it seems. It breezes through its manic plot with glee, delivering a moderately improved sequel – surprisingly bucking the trend of crass, family-oriented sequels.
With as many screenwriters as animated characters in tow among the live action elements here, the plot doesn’t bear that much scrutiny. There’s some nonsense about a supposedly all-powerful macguffin that needs to be retrieved and protected by Sonic and Tails before Dr. Robotnik leaps on it and tries to exploit it with the help of the belligerent Knuckles. There’s a dangerous quest to Siberia, which involves a dance-off with the frosty locals. There’s even a bizarre sub-plot involving Maddie’s sister which appears to have wandered in from a wildly exaggerated Tyler Perry romcom shooting next door. Not that the plot really matters that much. For this film anyway, it’s the action and the characters that matter more and, on that front, returning director Jeff Fowler scores several gold rings in keeping watch-checking to a minimum.
As a sequel should, it expands the character of Sonic beyond just a blue, wise-cracking, quasi-superhero and gives him a family to work with. That thereby gives him a relatable quality that gets past the inherent cheesiness of him being a talking animated videogame character interacting with humans. There’s more depth here than expected and the coolness of the character is more apparent as he zips about with an irrepressible grin and a firm sense of what’s right and wrong (important for a family film). Ben Schwartz’s sprightly voice work is more convincing this time as he settles into the role. Jim Carrey once again dials his performance up to 11, maybe even 12, in the way that only Carrey knows. He’s a hoot, sporting a moustache to rival even Hercule Poirot’s recently as he chews the scenery with relish like the acting equivalent of Pac-Man. The other characters like James Marsden’s Tom also get a decent look-in and come into the fray. The action does go on a bit longer than it needs to though. More bang for your buck, so to speak or plenty of Sonic boom booms that will keep boredom at bay for kids and their parents. Sonic The Hedgehog 2 is a daft but enjoyable enough follow-up that gets a decent balance of character, action, laughs and heart.
Rating: 3 / 5
Review by Gareth O’Connor
Sonic The Hedgehog 2
Sonic The Hedgehog (Japan / USA / PG / 122 mins)
In short: Sonic boom boom
Directed by Jeff Fowler.
Starring Ben Schwartz, Jim Carrey, Idris Elba, James Marsden, Tika Sumpter, Colleen O'Shaughnessy.