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Gotta Go Fast! – A Sonic 2 Review

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Warning: This review contains spoilers for “Sonic The Hedgehog 2.”

Paramount and Sega’s “Sonic The Hedgehog 2,” the sequel to 2020’s “Sonic the Hedgehog” and based on the video game franchise of the same name, was released in theaters on April 8.  

The movie picks up where the first one left off, when Dr. Robotnik (Jim Carrey) is trapped on the mushroom planet he was sent to and plots to seek revenge on Sonic. After a failed escape attempt, he encounters Knuckles (Idris Elba), the last Echidna who seeks the Master Emerald, a device that grants the user great power. Robotnik suggests that they team up to achieve both their goals and Knuckles helps Robotnik escape. Meanwhile, Sonic (Ben Schwartz) is in the city when his antics accidentally destroy a city block. Tom (James Mardsen) gives Sonic a lecture on responsibility just before he and Maddie (Tika Sumpter) leave for a wedding in Hawaii. Tails (Colleen O’Shaughnessey), who was shown arriving and looking for Sonic at the end of the previous movie, tracks him down to help him. The two of them look at a map that Sonic obtained from his dead mentor to track down the Master Emerald, and they decide to go to Siberia to find a key to the emerald. While there, Knuckles chases them and gets the key instead, causing an avalanche. When Tails and Sonic escape through one of Sonic’s portal rings, they interrupt Tom’s wedding and get captured. They eventually escape, only to find out that Robotnick and Knuckles have uncovered the temple containing the Master Emerald. The two parties race to obtain it, and it ends up in Robotnik’s hands.  Despite this setback, Sonic gains Knuckle’s friendship when he rescues him from one of the temple’s traps. The groups return home, with Robotnik uncovering a villainous base underneath a local coffee shop and using the Master Emerald on the town’s vehicles to create a giant robot that Sonic, Tails and Knuckles must work together to defeat. During the fight, the Master Emerald breaks apart into the seven Chaos Emeralds, and Sonic uses them to power up into Super Sonic, defeating Robotnik. While the humans are cleaning up, they uncover a plan for “Project Shadow,” setting up Sonic’s popular rival, Shadow.              

Photo provided by Sonic the Hedgehog @sonicmovie/Instagram

Visually, Knuckles and Tails were translated well to the movie’s style, as they are suitably furry and resemble their game counterparts; additionally, they simultaneously integratewell with the movie’s human cast. In addition, some of the setpieces, such as the Super Sonic and Eggman fight and the temple scenes, are fairly impressive.

The movie’s character development is surprisingly good for a kid’s movie. For instance, Knuckles evolves from a stoic figure seeking revenge for his dead species to Sonic’s ally, using his strength to overcome obstacles while also learning to loosen up once in a while. Sonic also develops throughout the movie as he learns values like responsibility. Tails also develops, changing from a squealing fanboy to a useful ally, providing a crucial distraction in the final fight scene.

The actors’ performances are also good. In particular, Schwartz’s Sonic performance captured the character’s personality well, as he portrays Sonic as the impatient, hyperactive figure that he is in the games, but also keeps him human by emphasizing his other aspects, such as his loyalty. Carrey’s performance as Robotnik also suits him well, as it is suitably overdramatic which fits both his usual acting style and the series itself, With this in mind, it makes sense that the movies would get suitably more ridiculous to match the games, considering that it features a world of talking animals fighting against a mad scientist using powerful gems.

Photo provided by Sonic the Hedgehog @sonicmovie/Instagram

Like the first film, “Sonic the Hedgehog 2” added many elements from the original games into this universe’s continuity.  The most obvious references to the games are Tails, Knuckles, the Chaos Emeralds and Shadow — which are all major components of the games. The movie also features many other, more subtle references. For instance, at one point in the movie Knuckles chases Sonic and Tails down a mountain during an avalanche, a reference to the Icecap Zone in the “Sonic The Hedgehog 3” game which featured a similar set piece. In addition, when Sonic and Tails are at a Siberian bar, Sonic poses in a manner similar to the box art of the 1999 video game “Sonic Adventure.” The references even extend to the movie’s promotional campaign, which includes a poster that references the box art of the “Sonic The Hedgehog 2” video game and a tweet that references the game’s title screen. 

In conclusion, “Sonic The Hedgehog 2” has good acting, decent effects and character development with a plot that is sensible enough for those who only remember the first movie, while also containing enough references to the other continuities to satisfy hardcore fans.     

Bailey Kanthatham is an Entertainment Contributing Writer. He can be reached at bkanthat@uci.edu.