Review by Dan Skip Allen
The video game movie genre has been a big miss since films have gotten made of them, starting with Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat in the early '90s. The first Sonic the Hedgehog movie was a big hit, even though it didn't start out that way. Early images came out of the little guy, and the fandom was in an uproar. Paramount pushed the film back six months, and when the movie finally came out, everybody loved this beloved video game film based on this iconic character. So the inevitable was bound to happen: a sequel was greenlit very quickly.
Fast forward to 2022, and the new movie is coming out. Sonic is still voiced by Ben Schwartz, and he's still living with James Mardsen's Tom. On the mushroom planet, Dr. Robotnik (Jim Carrey) is trying to devise a plan to get off the planet. An electromagnetic pulse is sent out to see if anybody will come to rescue him. Through a portal comes Knuckles, an echidna race of warriors voiced fantastically by Idris Elba (Zootopia). He packs quite a punch. Also, usually on the sidelines dealing with the tech stuff is Tails, voiced by Collen O'Shaughnessy, an adorable little fox-like creature with two tails, hence the name. They are forced to come out of the shadows to help Sonic with this intergalactic threat and Dr. Robotnik.
This film was quite a fun ride from beginning to end. It was filled with pop culture references, jokes, and phrases we all would be familiar with. The film really knows the audience and goes for them every time, getting quite a few cheers when popular things from the games are implemented in the plot. That being said, there are a few things I had issues with. One of them is the CGI. While pretty good most of the time, there were instances when the CGI was a little wonky. The film is filled with CGI characters and action set pieces, so it makes sense that everything wasn't perfect. I also had a problem when the film departed from the CGI characters. When we get the live-action people, the film takes a dip in quality, except, of course, from Jim Carrey. The CGI characters, Dr. Robotnik, and all their hijinks are what we are there for.
Jim Carrey has done it all in Hollywood. His big breakout year was 1994 with The Mask, Dumb and Dumber, and Ace Ventura: Pet Detective. He even did a biopic of legendary stand-up comedian and television star Andy Kaufman. He's tried his hand at drama as well. The character of Dr. Robotnik is a return to form for this great stand-up comedian, actor, and impersonator. You can tell he's having fun again in an acting role like Liar, Liar or Bruce Almighty. He's eating this character up and loving every bite. He steals the show once again in Sonic the Hedgehog 2. Everybody is in service to his genius. Here's hoping we get more of him in future films.
Jeff Fowler directed the first Sonic the Hedgehog film, and he returns to the sequel. He has a back for knowing this character and its world. The writers Pat Casey, Josh Miller, and others are aiding and abetting Fowler. They write into the wheelhouse of Fowler's directing style: fun comedic moments while also filling the film with action set pieces and giant CGI fight sequences. This is the bread and butter of this franchise. I think fans will be delighted with this second outing of Sonic the Hedgehog. It's full of nostalgia, pop culture references, and heartwarming scenes. The voice-over cast is impeccable. This sequel isn't better than the original, but most sequels aren't, except for a few. People of all ages will enjoy it, even if you haven't played the games.
Sonic the Hedgehog 2 hits theaters on April 8.