A review of Sonic The Hedgehog 2

Ben Schwartz as Sonic in Sonic The Hedgehog 2

Ben Schwartz as Sonic in Sonic The Hedgehog 2
Photo: Paramount Pictures

The first two sonic the hedgehog movies may not be the loose bookends we need for the Covid-19 pandemic, but they feel like the ones we deserve. Where the first film was an abhorrent mess that didn’t define the rules of its or its own worlds well enough to obey them, sonic the hedgehog 2 most likely charted too much mythology too quickly, advancing aggressively whether the audience was ready for it or not.

And yet, director Jeff Fowler’s follow-up is an improvement in just about every way. Restoring noted maximalist Jim Carrey to the epicenter of the franchise’s comic universe while introducing two new animated characters and bolstering several of the supporting human roles, Sonic 2 rightly tones down Ben Schwartz’ Parks and recreation-Lightweight performance to make Sonic semi-friendly.

Working with what seems like a bigger budget and fewer origin story obligations, returning screenwriters Pat Casey, Josh Miller, plus franchise newcomer John Whittington, create a globe-trotting adventure. which offers fun ideas for viewers of all ages, even if the film is too long and schizophrenic to stick on landing.

Following the events of the first film, Sonic has settled into his new home in Green Hills, Montana with Tom (James Marsden) and Maddie Wachowski (Tika Sumpter). From there, he occasionally moonlights, usually to disastrous effect, as a crime-fighting vigilante in metropolitan cities within sprint range. Shortly after being tasked with staying home alone for the first time while Tom and Maddie travel to Hawaii for his sister Rachel’s (Natasha Rothwell) wedding, Sonic discovers that Dr. Robotnick (Carrey) has escaped from the mushroom planet and teamed up with Knuckles (Idris Elba).

As the pugilist echidna Knuckles declares the blue hedgehog his nemesis, he believes Sonic will lead him to an all-powerful mystical object known as the Master Emerald. Meanwhile, a yellow fox nicknamed Tails (Colleen O’Shaughnessey) arrives from Planet Sonic and helps him evade capture by Robotnick and Knuckles.

Using technology salvaged from his devoted lackey Stone (Lee Majdoub), Robotnick and Knuckles track Sonic and Tails from a mountaintop in Siberia to an underwater kingdom off the coast of Hawaii, inadvertently ruining the Rachel’s wedding in the process. When Robotnick steals the Master Emerald for himself, Knuckles is forced to decide whether to pursue a vendetta against Sonic that seemingly began before either of them were born, or band together to stop a new enemy whose evil designs could spell death for Earth and their homeworld. look alike.

Jim Carrey as Dr. Robotnick in Sonic The Hedgehog 2

Jim Carrey as Dr. Robotnick in Sonic The Hedgehog 2
Photo: Paramount Pictures

If it was, say, 100 minutes, sonic the hedgehog 2 might have been the perfect movie for video game-obsessed kids and their reluctant driving-age escorts, traversing action set pieces and goofy punchlines with the same urgency as Sonic as he climbs back into bed at Tim’s and Maddie after a long and disastrous night of crime fighting. At 122 minutes, that’s way too long for viewers of any age, although cutting out superfluous elements would be tantamount to removing the exact elements that adults might find interesting, if only because they were injected so disconcertingly into the film.

Specifically, it seems the entire subplot involving Rachel’s Hawaiian wedding to the hunky Randall (Shemar Moore) was created in order to give the rest of the on-screen actors something to do while Jim Carrey pursues the voice. of Ben Schwartz from place to place. , with the voice of Elba at his side. The wedding payoff, which won’t be spoiled here, creates what must have been a fun role-playing exercise for the actors quarantined at a luxury resort in Honolulu, but its thematic relevance to the rest of the film is somewhat uncertain. nearly as deep as the all-device “family” plot of the Fast and Furious suites.

As Sonic, Schwartz can quote his famous line/meme Jean-Ralphio “the wooooo-orst” in the film, but otherwise delivers a less gritty, more subdued, and mature daresay performance than in the previous film. Conversely, Knuckles challenges Elba to provide the same kind of stuffy, oblivious gruff that makes Dave Bautista’s Drax the Destroyer a fan favorite in the Guardians of the Galaxy movies. It’s remarkable that he doesn’t phone in his efforts, but it’s hard to ignore the undertone “I paid for my guest house” that lingers in his voice.

As for Carrey, whether he’s just delving into the video game’s source material or has decided that the best way to do his job is to be entertained at all costs, he seems to have abandoned the pretense of nuance entirely. While Robotnick inevitably becomes an overbearing presence over Sonic and company (long before he telekinetically creates a kaiju in his own image), Carrey gives the role everything he has and more in a performance that eclipses even the incapable of ignoring, the character’s greatest. facial hair more than natural.

Among the rest of the cast, Marsden and Sumpter are earning their salaries for convincing viewers that they have patience (let alone an ounce of sincere emotional investment) with enfant terrible Sonic. Rothwell takes advantage of plot twists caused by Rachel’s nuptials, and Adam Pally (The Mindy Project) provides a welcome comic alternative to Carrey’s megalomania. But while one of the ideas of this second Sonic chapter is that the main character grows up a bit, the franchise bearing his name remains designed for children – a conveyance of color and energy and sophomore humor, and not much else.

This is not necessarily a bad thing, and again, sonic the hedgehog 2 performs this task better than its predecessor. But with more characters on the way in an already announced sequel and a spin-off in the works for Knuckles, the Sonic the series feels like it’s in too much of a rush for its own good, especially when accompanists and ticket buyers for its target audience can barely wait for the end credits to make a quick exit.

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