Three years ago, when the trailer dropped for the first Sonic the Hedgehog, the Internet and fans weren’t too happy. Originally scheduled to be released in November of 2019, the original design for movie Sonic was so bad, people almost universally revolted. The image of Sonic with human eyes and those creepy teeth were mostly used jokes on late-night talk shows and became an Intenet meme.
So, Paramount Pictures and Sega Studios did the right thing. They literally went back to the drawing board and redesigned Sonic and pushed the released date back to February 2020. Thankfully, the powers that be avoided another Super Mario Bros., Street Fighter or Masters of the Universe. I can pretty much imagine a lot of the original Sonic would’ve still been enjoyed by some audiences, but it wouldn’t have had the success it had.
And we wouldn’t have gotten a film franchise out of a video game. Ok, some older critics don’t like the video game adaptation genre. But you can’t look at the disaster that was Super Mario Bros. If people used the earlier designs for airplanes as the end-all-be-all, we’d still be having to drive and use boats to get to where we want.
Sonic the Hedgehog 2 pretty much picks up where the last one left off. Dr. Robotnik (Jim Carrey) is marooned on The Mushroom Planet, but in possession of Sonic’s blue quill. He’s shaved his head and styled out his moustache in a wild design and basically losing a little bit of his mind every day. He’s been able to erect a machine that by using the blue quill will open a portal to other worlds where he can escape. But one day when the portal is oepn, he is met by Knuckles the Echidna (voiced by Idris Elba) who wants to know where he got the blue quill.
Back on earth, Sonic (voiced by Ben Schwartz) has settled into Green Hills and living with Tom and Maddie Wachowski (James Marsden and Tika Sumpter). Sonic is having a lot to learn from Tom and Maddie who say he’s not grown up and responsible. He attempts to foil an armored car robbery but causes more damage and destruction in the wake. Tom and Maddie are still trying to hide Sonic from the Guardian Unions of Nations (G.U.N.) who want him.
Using one his rings, Sonic opens up a portal to Hawaii so Tom and Maddie can attend the wedding of Maddie’s older sister, Rachel (Natasha Rothwell) to Randall Handal (Shemar Moore). Sonic gives Tom a ring so they can return. You don’t have to be a film lover to know that giving Tom a ring when they are attending a wedding will cause a screw-up.
Dr. Robotnik and Knuckles find Sonic in Green Hills as well as Tails, otherwise known as Miles Prower (voiced by Colleen O’Shaughnessey), who was teased at the end of the first one with a cameo. And like most sequels, this one is bigger and more extravagant with Sonic and Tails going to Siberia of all places for a section that is suprisingly fun and enjoyable. And you know they’re going to meet up with Tom and Maddie in Hawaii eventually.
The first Sonic was a lot better than I thought going in. Part of what made it good was it knew its intended audience. There are people who have been playing Sonic since the 1990s and the character also appeals to their children. So, they made a movie that worked best for adults and children.
The sequel accomplishes that same task. It’s longer, louder and more special effects-oriented. But it doesn’t get bogged down by them. There’s still some more character development where Tom and Maddie aren’t just standing around waiting for Sonic, Tails and Knuckles to appear. I don’t want to give anything away, but the wedding plays a more huge plot than one might think. And it’s kinda cool seeing Moore, an actor known for more serious roles, in playing a not-so-serious role. Elba, himself, is often playing more serious roles and is a great choice as Knuckles.
Carrey, himself, is a tour-de-force as Robotnik. I think maybe only the late Robin Williams could’ve pulled off such a character so well. Carrey has said that he intends to retire from acting following this role. And the ending leaves it open for a third Sonic movie which is already being planned with hopes of enticing Carrey back. Sonic without Robotnik is like a BLT without the bacon and tomato.
A big part of the Sonic movies has been director Jeff Fowler and writers Pat Casey and Josh Miller. While we’d love to see Carrey return for the third Sonic, I’d have to say without Fowler, Casey and Miller, it wouldn’t be the same. Here’s hoping that they can get everyone back together for the third one.
What do you think? Please comment.