You know everyone’s favourite speedy blue hedgehog is back when the stars in the opening Paramount logo are replaced with Sonic’s signature gold rings. And Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is one of the rare instances of the sequel being a vast improvement on the first film. Whilst this was never going to be a particularly arduous task, at least Sonic 2 is actually rather entertaining and is lots of fun unlike its predecessor.
Sonic (voiced once again by Ben Schwartz) has now settled into Green Hills but he’s eager to prove that he’s got what it takes to be a true hero. He sneaks into Seattle at night, calling himself Blue Justice and acting like a superhero taking down the bad guys and engaging in high-speed chases with the police. It’s an opening that really works as it really feels like something straight out of a superhero film. It really does exactly what it’s trying to do here with the scene playing out much like the opening of The Amazing Spider-Man 2 with Sonic taking down the bad guys and making tons of quips whilst he’s at it.
However, things soon take a turn for the worse when Dr Robotnik (Jim Carrey) returns, this time with his new partner, Knuckles, the fearsome Echidna that’s hellbent on finding a magical emerald that has the power to destroy civilizations. And because sequels always have to up the ante, Sonic’s not alone either as he’s teaming up with Tails as they embark on a globe-trotting adventure to find the emerald before Robotnik and Knuckles find it.
Sonic the Hedgehog 2 manages to be far more fun than its predecessor and it feels very much like the movie that the first film ought to have been. The cast all really come into the roles much more. Jim Carrey is the best part of the film proving that he’s one of the best comic actors alive today. He fills Eggman with such a chaotic and juvenile personality that he’s a joy to watch every time he’s on screen. Even if not all of his one-liners land, he’s just such an eccentric character and Carrey plays the role remarkably.
Once again, Ben Schwartz is also a perfect fit for Sonic but its Idris Elba’s Knuckles that stands out even more than Schwartz. Whilst it’s not quite on the same level as Spider-Man: No Way Home, the energy you feel radiating from Knuckles when first walks through that circular golden portal is so strong and for his first few scenes Knuckles seems a real force to be reckoned with thanks to Elba’s excellent voice work and the great work from the VFX team.
In terms of the visual effects, the three main computer-generated characters of Sonic, Knuckles and Tails all, for the most part, look really good and the VFX team have done a great job there- especially after the hideous looking Sonic we saw in the original trailer for the first film before Sonic was redesigned. However, the rest of the CGI must have been quite rushed as there are some very rough looking green screens cropping up throughout the rest of the film.
Despite the VFX being rushed, the film itself definitely took its time. Even with a speedy hedgehog leading the film, it’s still too slow and long. A Sonic film really doesn’t need to clock in at two minutes more than two hours and the runtime drags by the end of it. It feels like the film really drags in its finale when it should be at its most exciting. It should have ended twenty minutes earlier and you can feel this by the end of the film. You can tell your kids film is too long when even the kids in the audience were starting to get a little restless during the final showdown.
That being said, Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is a film that’s definitely going to go down well with kids and families this Easter. There’s plenty for the kids to enjoy, and for the adults to groan at, such as Robotnik flossing and a dance-off to Uptown Funk, but on the whole, it is a fairly enjoyable film and a definite improvement on the first one.
Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is released in cinemas on April 1st.
DIRECTOR: Jeff Fowler
STARS: James Marsden, Ben Schwartz, Idris Elba, Jim Carrey
RUNTIME: 122 minutes