Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is a stronger movie than its predecessor in every way. It’s faster, tighter, has cooler action scenes and better-written characters, and it captures the spirit of its source material much more successfully. Sonic the Hedgehog looked like the adaptation of Sonic that a major Hollywood studio only interested in making a profit wanted to make. Sonic the Hedgehog 2, on the other hand, feels like an adaptation from a team full of Sonic fans genuinely interested in doing justice to the video game franchise.
There really is a lot to like here, so much so that it’s easy to recommend it even to people who didn’t like the first movie. Characters new and old are much more likable: Sonic has more depth, Tails and Knuckles are welcome additions to the film franchise, and Eggman is a much more entertaining villain. Where previously he felt like a combination of previous characters Jim Carrey had played, Eggman truly feels like his own person in this sequel. He’s no longer just a series of weird quirks and behaviors, his character is much more cohesive and therefore easier to invest in.
Performance is top notch from both the voice cast and the live cast. Ben Schwartz, Colleen O’Shaughnessey, and Idris Elba all nail their vocal performances as Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles with reverence, bringing these characters to life in a way that’s sure to appeal to longtime fans of the show. viewers have just been introduced to them, and anyone in between.
James Marsden as Tom doesn’t really have much to do, but Tika Sumpter as Maddie thankfully does, and she kills just about every scene she’s in. Of course, the star here is Jim Carrey, who pretty much chews up the scenery in the best possible way. Because Eggman has become a much better written and more cohesive character, Carrey now has a lot more to work with and he absolutely owns the part. No one but him could have played the part.
But the big surprise here is how well Sonic the Hedgehog 2 manages to tug on the heartstrings. The strength of the storyline really shines through during the quietest, quietest moments, when it’s just characters interacting with each other and developing their relationships. This is particularly true with Sonic, Tails and Knuckles: great importance is given to the friendship between these three and this friendship is ultimately the greatest strength of the film. We very rarely see male characters loving, trusting and caring about each other, so seeing him in a movie as big as Sonic the Hedgehog 2 was refreshing to watch.
Of course, this sequel is far from perfect. The most obvious flaw is that it goes on too long just when you think it’s about to end, another action sequence begins and you can’t help but feel exhausted from all the chasing. , races and fights. While the script is solid, it’s also overloaded and might have benefited from an extra round or two of editing and cutting.
This film also suffers from scenes and lines of dialogue clearly made with the intention of pandering to its Gen Z audience. These moments feel out of place and disconnected, sounding less like what kids love and more like what men aged in costume think children love. Luckily, those moments aren’t enough to seriously date the movie, but they are enough to take some of the fun out of the experience.
However, for the most part, Sonic the Hedgehog 2 remains a really solid movie, filled with likable characters, high-energy action scenes, and an endearing focus on friendship. Sonic fans will definitely love this, but even if you’ve never played a Sonic game in your life, you might find yourself enjoying all the fun action scenes and even shedding a tear or two during the most moving parts. This may be the best video game movie adaptation to date.
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A massive improvement over the first film, Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is let down by a few poor choices but makes up for it with its heartfelt depictions of friendship.