Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (2022)

Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (2022) Cover

Sonic The Hedgehog 2 is the family-friendly film to go see this weekend. This sequel to the 2020 film is not as tightly focused as the first film (with a running time of just over 2 hours vs it’s predecessor’s 99 minute running time) but has adorable new characters and a bigger, more grand finale that causes the adventure to have a conclusion that delivers a slightly more satisfying payoff than the first Sonic. Despite the fact that the first Sonic the Hedgehog is more well-structured, I liked the sequel just a hair more due to the new characters and explosive climax.

Sonic (Ben Schwartz) is getting comfortable in his new home with Tom and Madie (James Marsden and Tika Sumpter), while attempting to stop crime in the city. Dr. Robotnik (Jim Carrey) discovers a way to escape Mushroom Island (where he was banished to at the conclusion of the first film) and recruits Knuckles (Idris Elba) to assist in searching for a powerful green emerald that can have destructive powers when in the wrong hands! Sonic teams up with newcomer Tails (Colleen O'Shaughnessey) and together they must figure out how to stop Eggman and his new partner in crime.

The tone of Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is similar to the first film; if you weren’t a fan of that film, this sequel will not win you over. Humor is rather cheesy but nonetheless made audience members chuckle quite a few times. The characters are incredibly likable and I wanted to see the outcome of the adventure, despite the hit-or-miss humor. Colleen O'Shaughnessey joins the main voice cast as Tails, Sonic’s new side-kick (they have a Batman and Robin friendship), and gives a wonderful performance that compliments Ben Schwartz, the voice of Sonic, quite beautifully (and I must add I was quite fan-girling over the fact that she was in this, as she voices Sora from Digimon Digital Monsters; a children's show I watched every week growing up!). While both Sonic and Tails have energetic high-pitched voices, Idris Elba who plays Knuckles has a nice contrast with a low-end bassy voice that well communicates the character’s abandonment and depressive state. Jim Carrey sinks into the role of psycho Robotnik and his proverbial villain laugh coupled with his quick-witted movements make him a fitting antagonist for a family film.

There’s two subplots involving a bar dance-off sequence and a marriage ceremony that could’ve been cut to tighten the story. The bar dance-off sequence is over-the-top silly and has Sonic and Tails dancing to Uptown Funk by Bruno Mars. The wedding is a plot that does feature the likable talent Natasha Rothwell but the result of this scene unraveling not only takes the emotional focus off our main characters but places it on Rothwell’s unimportant secondary character. Sonic is the catalyst for this wedding to go array and you initially feel bad for him but once a big reveal happens it seems childishly improbable and the sympathy that could’ve been felt for Sonic deteriorates and what is left is an eyebrow raised and a curiosity of why screenwriters went for such an outlandish 3rd act.

Aside from the scenes mentioned above and some off-humor, Sonic is a mostly fun light-hearted adventure whose characters are the reason to go see this (and the new characters add a delight that give it a slight edge over its predecessor). Jeff Fowler, whose feature-length director credentials only encompass the two Sonic films show Fowler has a passion for this franchise and cares to deliver something both fans and newcomers will enjoy.

The theater erupted with gasps at the conclusion of the end credit scene (so much so that I found it a bit comical and more entertaining than the scene itself) but you may want to stay for the reveal that does appear after the animated credits.

Final Verdict:Adorable new characters and a bigger, more grand finale that causes the adventure to have a conclusion that delivers a slightly more satisfying payoff than the first Sonic.