Sonic the Hedgehog 2 – Film Review

Sonic returns for his second time on the big screen in Sonic The Hedgehog 2 along with well known characters Tails and Knuckles making their movie debut. With the evil genius Dr. Robotnik on a mad quest for the power of the master emerald, Sonic and Tails will have to think fast to find it first, while Knuckles tries to thwart their every move!

In the lead up to the release there have been some amazing promotional posters and great teaser trailers, so I’ve been pretty excited for this movie. There are so many little references to the games that really make it feel more at home in the franchise. Small things such as references to game levels like Green Hill Zone, Mushroom Hill Zone and Labyrinth Zone really made me smile. There’s even a nod to a more obscure puzzle game in the name of the café that hides Robotnik‘s secret lab. There’s plenty more ‘Easter Eggs’ for long time fans to find, so keep your eyes peeled.

I’ve been a long time fan since the first Mega Drive game from 1991 and with Sonic The Hedgehog’s media library now spanning 30 years, there’s a lot of lore and characters for the films to draw from that I’ve been wanting to see. With the fanbase made up of both adults and kids, it can be hard to strike the right balance to appeal to both but I think this film managed to nail it. I was laughing at Sonic’s funny quips along with the kids in the audience, but also fully invested in the story and how it would all unfold, while having a nostalgia trip over every reference to the classic games.

Sonic’s character in the ‘movieverse’ portrays an inexperienced hero, his altruistic desire to help people has always guided him into action. But not everyone is fully thankful for his clumsy attempts at heroism. Ben Schwartz, who also voiced Sonic in the first movie, delivers plenty of great smartass lines but is also able to show that Sonic is a big blue softy when his friends are in danger.

Knuckles is introduced in this movie as an antagonist, much the same way he was in the games where Dr. Robotnik tricks him into fighting Sonic. With the rivalry between Sonic and Knuckles being a featured story point of this film I really enjoyed the clever use of red and blue thematic lighting that is in various scenes throughout the film. From the police lights of city streets, to the glow from a computer screen, these colours give us subtle reminders of the showdown that is to come. Idris Elba’s voice acting as Knuckles gives him a deep sound that really reflects his strength and determination. But it can also be quite funny when Knuckles awkwardly tries to understand Earth’s social customs and the lines are always delivered in such a serious tone.

You may remember the teaser sequence of Tails arriving at the end of the first movie, which will replay again in this film to note his arrival, however his character model has been updated and refined. Tails is now even cuter and fluffier than ever and you really just want to give the little guy a hug! Colleen O’Shaughnessey who has been voicing Mile “Tails” Prower since 2014 reprises her role. It’s really nice to see one of the voice actors from the games / animated series taking on the movie role as well, as a few fans were upset that other characters were recast. There’s not many adult voice actors that can pull off younger characters and she does a wonderful job showing the duality in Tails as an intelligent inventor but also his hesitation as a shy young kid.

Jim Carrey as Dr. Robotnik gives a fantastic performance, bringing that ‘animated’ feel to a character that isn’t even animated. In this movie the overall visual design for Eggman far more resembles the villain we remember from the games, as well as the “badnik” machines. I was pleased to spy the Buzz Bomber among the drones and we finally see the Robotnik in his Egg Mobile, a recurring mode of transport for our villain throughout all Sonic media.

Much like a journey through the different zones of the games, the movie takes us to many different biomes. The contrasts between technology and nature have always been a theme throughout the Sonic games and is also represented well in this movie. Each change in scenery gives new ways for all the action to uncoil.

Sonic the Hedgehog 2 ticks many boxes of what I would like to see from the movie franchise, diving deeper into the lore established in the games, introducing more beloved characters and taking us to more fantastical locations. Sonic as a character has always been fast and fun, and you definitely get that vibe watching this movie.

I enjoyed Sonic the Hedgehog 2 more than the first film and am now looking forward to the third instalment that has already been announced (remember to stay for a mid-credits scene that gives a teaser for Sonic 3!). There’s so many things in this movie to keep both young and old fans entertained, and I highly recommend it to everyone that loves the ‘blue blur’!

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