* THIS IS A SPOILER-FREE REVIEW WITH TRAILER IMAGES ONLY.
“SONIC 2 was so much fun!
It was hilariously bonkers and not remotely grounded in reality.., which is great! The film is self-aware of its outlandish premise and rolls with it to service fans with loads of Easter eggs and clever nods to the original game series. With heartwarming lessons of heroic responsibility, loyalty and friendship, it’s a great movie for both kids and adults, and for SONIC fans, it’s a must see!”
-SaturnDave (39 years old)
“The movie surprisingly used several plot lines, and kept character personalities from the game series. Sonic had a joking, non-serious attitude, Knuckles felt stoic and aloof, and Tails of course had a big heart. The Sonic films perfectly captured what many fans wanted in a video game movie, a fun film that tries not to take itself so seriously. I sincerely hope they continue to keep this spirit up in following sequels, and many other video game films of the same nature should take note.”
-TraynoCo (29 years old)
“I liked all of the funny injuries [slapstick] and all of the fart jokes! The music was really great, too! Knuckles is cool. He is my favorite character! Doctor Robotnik is silly, and he has a lot of cool robots and vehicles. I thought it was super funny, and I would love to see it again. :)”
-Dave’s kid, Jesse (8 years old)
It’s kind of hard to believe that when the first SONIC THE HEDGEHOG came out, the world was a bit different than it is today… I took my son to see that movie less than a month before the entire country went into lockdown and daily existence changed profoundly for many people across the world… It’s been two years and a lot of changes.., but our blue hedgehog has finally made his way back to theaters, and so have I… (this is literally the first I’ve set foot in a theater since the beginning of the pandemic). And considering the heavy events constantly unfolding around us on a daily basis, SONIC 2 is just the type of light-hearted escapism that a lot of folks need right about now… Its heartwarming, feel-good vibes make for a fun and carefree movie-going experience!
Folks may remember how the first film got off to an uncertain start with that not-so-great-CGI trailer, resulting in a massive outcry from fans, which prompted SEGA/Sammy to invest further time and money into the film’s production in order to set things right. I urged folks then to go see the movie and encourage friends to do the same, as I felt is was rare for a company to listen to their fans in that way, and I had very high hopes for SEGA’s potential future film projects…
Well, the first film ended up getting a lot of things right, and while it wasn’t perfect, it turned out to be one of the better video game inspired movies I had seen up to that point (certainly better than the Mario Bros movie *shudders*). It also established a good foundation to build upon, and this time around, I feel like SONIC 2 really knocked it out of the park, thanks to its relative abandonment of reality.
See.., despite it’s late makeover, the first film still struggled with the idea of how to fit SONIC into the real world and have him interact with real people… Originally, Paramount had intended to make SONIC more human-like in appearance (an idea that SONIC fans vehemently protested). However, SONIC 2 really embraces its ridiculous premise and doesn’t try too hard to explain or justify anything. And neither should we, for that matter. I mean, it is a movie based on a video game, after all…
With SONIC 2, SEGA & Paramount really doubled their efforts in serving fans with as many references and inside jokes as possible. There were so many, in fact (some more obvious than others), that I’m sure I missed a few and will have to catch them on a second viewing. The film did a great job building the core characters and their relationships, making it hard (even for someone as cynical as me) not to fall in love with these furry digital actors. This is thanks almost entirely to the brilliant voice talent of Ben Schwartz, Colleen O’Shaughnessy & Idris Elba. Their performances were absolutely top-notch and are really what brought these characters to life and made them so endearing.
I admit that I was very skeptical when I heard that Idris Elba had been cast as Knuckles. It just seemed so different than what I would have imagined. Now, I am happy to say that I could not have been more wrong… Elba’s performance probably stole the show, for me. So serious, yet so naïve… Knuckles’ lines had me cracking up throughout the entire film. The writing and delivery were so on point!
Tails was also great and pretty much what everyone expected, with Collen O’Shaughnessy behind the mic. It was fun to see Sonic and Tails come together as friends, and their interaction and chemistry were even a bit reminiscent of the OVA. Tails, of course, came complete with his typical assortment of technical gadgets (some a bit more… ahem, developed than others), and these would lead to some awkward and hilarious situations. Perfect!
Jim Carrey was also fantastic as Robotnik/Eggman, and while I continue to wish that he was a little larger around the middle, I can’t deny his comedic timing, delivery and irreverence help to fill the movie with non-stop laughs. Perhaps we’ll see him put on more weight in later films..? Together with his latte-steaming lackey, Agent Stone (Lee Majdoub), Robotnik relies on all sorts of slick (and often preposterous) technical gismos & gadgetry in his quest to crush the blue hedgehog and seek out the ultimate power in the universe.
The film also had a pretty decent soundtrack, with several solid rock, pop & hip-hop selections. (Rather than list them here, I think it best to let you hear them for yourself, so they serve their intended purpose in accompanying the film’s narrative). Still, I was pretty happy with the music overall, and I felt that some were not super obvious choices, but they surprised me at how well they worked for each scene.
I do feel the movie dragged a bit somewhere around the middle, when the human actors (James Marsden, Tika Sumpter, Natasha Rothwell & Shemar Moore) took the stage for a lengthy segment filled with lots of slapstick and more than a few jokes that didn’t quite land… However, my own 8 year old son LOVED this part (said it was one of his favorite parts), so I guess it’s all relative. Who knows? Your kids may enjoy it… There’s also a fair bit of product placement, which may or may not bother you, but it’s certainly there, and while I pretty much expect this from a blockbuster family film, I figured I’d let you know either way.
Aside from my few gripes, I do appreciate the fact that SONIC 2 goes little deeper in terms of lore, providing answers to a few questions that the first film left dangling… I mean, it’s not super deep or anything, but I don’t really expect that from a series who’s ongoing theme is basically, “Gotta Go Fast…“
Still, it’s just enough to service the story and provide a background for the characters that this movie is really all about.
Honestly, this may not be one for those serious critics out there, because so much of it is completely ridiculous, and if you take it too seriously, you’re just not going to have any fun… Sonic fans, however, have been waiting for an opportunity to see their beloved blue hedgehog in the spotlight with his buddies, Tails & Knuckles, and it’s nice to sit back and enjoy a lighthearted action-comedy without overthinking it too much…
SHIRO! Media Group would like to thank Jennifer Gendron & Brianna Driscoll with AGM for this advanced screening opportunity.
A massive Saturn fan since Christmas ’96, Dave is enthusiastic about growing the community and spreading Saturn love and knowledge to fans old and new. Co-founding the SEGA SATURN, SHIRO! podcast back in 2017 and creating the SHIRO! SHOW in 2020, he seeks to create interesting and engaging Saturn-related content for the community. Dave’s interests circle around game preservation, and he is a huge fan of game magazines and developer interviews.