Sonic The Hedgehog 2 (2022)

I Weep For Cinema May 4, 2022

The first Sonic movie premiered right before the pandemic, and did exceptionally well, thanks to the reworked CGI for Sonic that if left unaltered made the blue blur a nightmare fuel inducing bad idea. But luckily that wasn’t the case and everyone got a pretty good family film about a blue alien hedgehog fighting the world’s most intelligent ego maniac. Now that the second movie has come out, I wanted to talk about how much I appreciated seeing some childhood fantasies about a video game character I loved as a kid getting a big budget sequel.

Sonic two picks up around half a year after the first movie ended, starting right off with Dr. Robotnik (and no, I’ll never use his Japanese name) trapped on the Mushroom Planet. Going more slowly insane than he already has, he devises a plan to send out some sort of energy blast so any other planets can pick up his signal and he can get back to Earth. I love the fact that Jim Carrey was picked for Dr. Robotnik, and while he doesn’t fit the same frame of the character in the games, he still sports the crazy mustache that adornes all his inventions, like a logo. So he at least resembles the character, along with his black and red trench coat with tails, which I thought was a really nice touch.

Knuckles shows up and strikes a deal/friendship with Robotnik and together they go after Sonic. Luckily Tails has also arrived on Earth and searches for Sonic thanks to the help of his many gadgets. Seeing the often overlooked character traits of Tails being pushed in the movie really solidifies it as something that makes the movie feel like it was made by fans of the games and series in general. There are so many different things that Sonic has been a part of over the years, and not just the games, but also the multiple TV shows, and the comic book run as well… so getting these characters right is kinda important, and the movie does that pretty much perfectly in my opinion. Sure I did scoff at the fact that Knuckles wasn’t the protector of the Chaos Emerald at first, but having him be part of a tribe of warrior echidna and be caught in a centuries long war seems like that might be part of the retconned lore of some of the newer games. I honestly couldn’t tell you, nor do I think it makes a difference.

While the movie heavily focuses on Sonic and Tails fighting Knuckles and Robotnik, it does have a B-plot involving Teddy himself, James Marsden as Tom Wachowski and his wife Maddie as they spend most of the movie in Hawaii for Maddie’s sister’s wedding. Which goes on way too long and features a bridezilla montage after her wedding gets ruined and it’s revealed that the wedding was a government coverup to find Sonic. While I think there were a couple genuine moments of sincerity and laughter, and the whole wedding side plot was fine, it again, just goes on way too long. Since that's the only real part where multiple live actors are on screen, I see it being justified as both a reason to keep it as long as it was, and also having it take place in Hawaii. Free vacation trip on Sega’s dime for the actors!

Other than the wedding side plot dragging down the momentum of the movie, I have zero other  qualms about the movie. Ben Schwartz does an amazing job at making Sonic a likable yet a bit obnoxious at times lead. He even gets in a Jean-Ralphio “He’s the woooorrrssttt!!!” line, which made me smile at 12am while watching it late at night. And as always, Jim Carrey continues to bring this weird villain to life in a way that’s wonderful to watch. Every moment he is on screen, I’m grinning ear to ear. Making Robotnik vastly more intelligent than everyone around him, but also spout outdated teenybopper references makes him seem that being popular and loved is more important that anything else to him, which is his ultimate downfall. The hubris of the character, wanting to control the world, always gets foiled because he lacks the self control to reign his ambitions of showing off in. Having his lackey, Agent Stone be his ultimate admire and super fan also was great. No matter how much Robotnik berates him and treats him like dirt, he sees the potential Robotnik has to take over the world, and wants to be right there next to him when it happens.

These types of movies pride themselves on little in jokes and memes, so hearing Sonic say “Gotta go fast” did have me rolling my eyes, but also the more overlooked little touches like the coffee shop in the town of Green Hills (yet another reference to the game) called Mean Bean does bring back semi-nostalgic feelings of renting and shoving the cartridge of  the newest Sonic game called “Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine” into my Sega Genesis… Only to find out it was a match three puzzle game made me question who wanted that. The movie also gives us Sonic eating a Chili dog and Tails flying and saving Sonic from cliffs, a snowboarding section which I wish featured the Ice Capped level song, Super Sonic, Shadow as a reveal for the next movie and so much more… that I just can’t help but love this movie.

This is a movie that should have been made back in the 90’s. This is the movie that Sonic fans deserved, and while the live action side plots don’t really need to be there, or that it might have gone on a bit too long, it definitely is a joy to see a family movie based on a video game that doesn’t try to bee too edgy (although there is a couple “um… that’s a bit too close to being an adult joke and not needed”) nor does it try to talk down to the audience it’s intended for. But that’s the state of Hollywood for the most part right now. It’s trying to appeal to the broadest demographic, and usually that ends up backfiring and making the movie unwatchable by the majority of the public. But this, Sonic 2, is a shining example of “How to do it right” by everyone involved. And I am every happy to say that I can not wait till Sonic The Hedgehog 3 comes out, I just hope Shadow doesn’t right a motorcycle, shoot guns and swear.

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