Written by Alex Gilston
It’s not often we’re in a position where we are talking about sequels to video game film adaptations, mainly due to the, often, low quality of any addition to the sub-genre. But here we are talking about the sequel to Sonic The Hedgehog (2020), which turned out to be a surprise hit amongst general audiences and fans of the famous Sega franchise alike. Sonic the Hedgehog 2 promises to up the ante, taking the stakes to a whole new world ending level all whilst introducing more beloved characters from the video games.
A defeated and disgruntled Doctor Robotnik finds himself on the mushroom world as he tries to find a way to get back to Earth to enact his revenge on the blue hedgehog who ruined his evil plans. Cue a familiar Echidna, Knuckles (Idris Elba), who comes to his rescue. They both head to Earth in search of Sonic and the mysterious Master Emerald. Along with the help of his new friend Tails, Sonic must stop Knuckles and Eggman from getting to the Emerald.
Sonic the Hedgehog 2 leans a lot more into Sonic lore to produce its story this time around. It seems as though now they’ve got audiences on board with the more generic plot from the first film that it’s now more comfortable to delve further into some big elements from the video game series. But it does it in such a way that it's never overbearing, and big fans of the series will get a few kicks out of the film's attention to detail in that area.
Sonic 2 has all the wit and charm of its predecessor and Ben Schwartz continues to prove that he was an inspired choice for the role of the titular character. The fact he has clearly settled into it makes the introduction of some new characters smoother. Idris Elba is an interesting addition to the cast as the fiery Echidna Knuckles, but a great one at that. Colleen O’Shaughnessey lends her voice to Tails and is a case in point that video game voice actors deserve to be a part of these big blockbuster adaptations. Jim Carrey is back with a vengeance, and looks to be having just as much, if not more, fun the second time around as the evil Doctor Eggman. By dialing the panto and campiness up to eleven it makes the iconic villain pop off the screen in a way that only Carrey could achieve.
Various scenes with the human characters pad out an already bursting at the seams run time for a family film. Although some are there to drive the plot forward most of them feel unnecessary and shoehorned in, especially so in a film that should really revolve around Sonic and the other new characters.
Even though it takes its time to get going, Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is a real sum of all of its parts. When all the pieces finally fall together you have a strong second installment to a franchise, leaps and bounds better than the first, which is only going to go from strength to strength. A family crowd pleaser that has an emotional heft to it that one wouldn’t necessarily expect from a film like it. In an industry packed to the brim with studios trying to build up these interconnected universes this particular construction looks as though it could be the most fun to keep up with.