Everyone’s favourite, friendly neighbourhood speedster returns to once again face off with Jim Carrey’s maniacal Dr. Robotnik in a story and film that outshines its predecessor in every way. Improving on the first and promising more, packing humour, heart, and plenty of punches.
Picking up soon after the events of the first film, Sonic finds himself in a race against time to stop Robotnik, and his new partner Knuckles (Idris Elba) from finding the mysterious master emerald and unleashing chaos on the world, but he won’t be able to do it alone. Enter, Tails (Colleen O’Shaunessey). Part genius gadget maker, part Sonic superfan, and a welcome addition to the fold, as Sonic (Ben Schwartz) makes his way through the classic hero’s journey of learning to play well with others while becoming who he was meant to be.
As with the first film, Schwartz excels playing Sonic with buoyant, kid like energy, with his flippant remarks, cheeky nature, and pop culture laden jokes having a better hit rate this time around. While James Marsden and Tika Sumpster also return to add heart to the proceedings as Sonic’s adopted family, all be it in a cut down manner from the first film as their screen time is taken up by the two new additions to the adventure.
And in one of these two new additions we have the clear MVP – Knuckles. Elba lends his voice brilliantly to the character, playing his earnest, straight-talking nature to hilarious effect. Think Drax from Guardians of the Galaxy but fast and red (though I wouldn’t shake hands with either of them if you like your bones un-crushed). His one two punch relationship with Carrey’s Dr. Robotnik is sure to crack a laugh or two.
Now where to even start with Jim Carrey? If this film does anything, it serves as proof that unhinged Jim Carrey is the best version. He turns the crazy dial to eleven for this from minute one, letting the “Eggman” freak flag fly high. Carrey is clearly having a ball playing the character, shooting for the moon at every opportunity. I mean admit it, who had Jim Carrey doing the floss dance on the big screen on their 2022 bingo card? He and right hand-man ‘Agent Stone’ (Lee Madjoub) also combine for a portion of the film’s funnier moments.
If there’s criticisms to be had it’s definitely the run time, as just over two hours feels a bit long for such a story. A Hawaiian sub-plot that’s played entirely for laughs could have been lost/cut down, even if it does contain a no holds barred performance from Natasha Rothwell’s ‘Rachel’ and a clinic in golf-cart driving. An obvious joke to make (sorry) but you’d be forgiven for asking Sonic to get to the point quicker during the film’s third act. There are definite improvements still to make here for the (already greenlit) third movie. Eagle-eyed fans will already know where that’s headed, but make sure to stick around for the mid-credit scene to find out.
What is impressive here however is that director Jeff Fowler clearly understood what worked from his first film. Taking all the best parts, and dialling them up, while not underserving the film’s new recruits, leaving enough time for us to get to know them, while also giving Dr. Robotnik time to be, well…crazy, and of course Sonic himself enough time to grow throughout the film. And while you could claim the story is formulaic, or paint by numbers (what else would you expect), it absolutely works. Delivering good action, mostly-landed jokes and a story that leaves you fulfilled and should have most audiences happy/eager to see more.
A sequel well worth seeking out, Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is a light and fun family adventure for all. Power bumps all round.