Sonic The Hedgehog 2 Review

Sonic 2
Fast-moving blue hedgehog Sonic (Ben Schwartz) is living the life of a hero after banishing his nemesis, the evil Doctor Robotnik (Jim Carrey), to the Mushroom Planet. But when Robotnik returns to take revenge with new foe Knuckles (Idris Elba), Sonic must team up with new pal Tails (Colleen O’Shaughnessey) to save the world again.

by John Nugent |
Updated on
Release Date:

08 Apr 2022

Original Title:

Sonic The Hedgehog 2

Films based on video games, infamously, don’t have a great track record. There is often talk of a curse. But Sonic The Hedgehog — the first live-action take on Sega’s spiky, speedy boy-in-blue, released in 2020 — managed to overcome initial fan backlash and mixed reviews to become a rare success, at least at the box office. Never mind that the film was fairly generic and forgettable family fodder: in brutal commercial terms, Sonic is officially the most successful film based on a video game ever. Now it makes a bid for a cinematic universe with the sequel. A third film is already in the works, along with at least one TV spin-off.

Sonic 2

Curse or no curse, a franchise is burgeoning, and so in every respect Sonic The Hedgehog 2 is really just more of the same. Steered by largely the same creative team as before, this is simply more fairly generic and forgettable family fodder: a Saturday-morning cartoon with a Hollywood budget, targeted primarily at an audience of eight-year-olds. It’s still colourful and kooky, the CG character designs are still jarringly cartoonish in their live-action surroundings, and the jokes are still, on the whole, bad. The significant differences are the addition of Tails, voiced by Colleen O’Shaughnessey; and Knuckles, voiced by Idris Elba, who’s like a Poundshop Drax The Destroyer.

The plot is a somewhat inconsequential, bog-standard MacGuffin hunt: Sonic must find a map, which leads him to a magic compass, which leads him to a secret underground temple, which then sends him through a maze, which reveals a magic emerald. Lessons are learned, friendships are made, bonds are strengthened, dance-offs are had. Curiously, it fails to follow the speedy philosophy of its hero, with a deeply unnecessary two-hour-plus runtime that will surely give small people itchy feet.

This is simply more fairly generic and forgettable family fodder

As with the first film, the closest thing here to a saving grace is Jim Carrey, reprising his role as the most deliciously over-the-top villain this side of a pantomime. (His turn as the Riddler in Batman Foreverseems like a triumph of nuance and understatement by comparison.) Now sporting a bushier moustache to twiddle, he reminds us, again, that nobody in Hollywood can expertly gurn quite like him. It’s a tantalising hint of his hyperactive ’90s heyday; if only he was putting it to decent material. In fact, it’s through Carrey that the film shows rare flashes of self-awareness. “I don’t want to die like this!” Robotnik screams at one point, during a sequence where he’s running from a distinctly Raiders Of The Lost Ark-esque boulder. “It’s derivative!” It’s a decent, funny line — and maybe more shrewd than the filmmakers were intending.

Sonic’s second outing is little more than a half-baked half-term distraction tool — though Jim Carrey’s outrageously committed performance nearly saves the day.
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