**WARNING SPOILERS AHEAD FOR SONIC THE HEDGEHOG 2**
Sonic The Hedgehog 2, the highly anticipated sequel to Paramount Pictures’ smash box office hit, Sonic the Hedgehog has finally been released in theaters. With the film playing across many theaters around the globe, fans and critics alike have been raving about the film; calling it a worthy sequel to an already more than a lively adaptation of the video game source material.
The film’s opening scene sets the tone and wastes no time in setting up Knuckles (voiced by Idris Elba) as the hard-hitting antagonist Sonic (Ben Schwartz) will have to deal with throughout the film. Charming, yet cunning, Dr. Robotnik (played by Jim Carrey) immediately sees this as an opportunity to exact his revenge on Sonic for trapping him on the Mushroom Planet. The film also sees the return of our titular hedgehog as he now parades around Green Hills as the Blue Justice, fighting crime and saving the day, while casually destroying city blocks.
Sonic the Hedgehog 2 takes everything that worked for the first film, expands on it, and takes it to the next level to make the film much bigger, much better, and funnier than the first. This is all due to the film having a much tighter script, a more linear story, and shifting its focal point from the human characters to the video game characters Sonic, Knuckles, Tails, and Dr. Robotnik. This allows the film to expand on the film’s universe and provide all the nods and video game references we all expected to see as the film went along.
Despite the human characters taking more of a backseat in this film, their subplot gives them enough to do to make them more enjoyable when they’re on-screen while also bringing in a bulk of the comedy. The close-knit family dynamic makes the overall cast’s chemistry that much better now that they’ve spent some time together in between films. Despite all of that, Ben Schwartz, Idris Elba, Jim Carrey, and Colleen O’Shaughnessey still do all of the heavy liftings, and in Idris Elba’s case, all of the heavy punching.
Elba brings a new level of broody charm and hard-hitting swag to the beloved Echidna, his footwear of choice screams New York energy and I am here for it. Someone, please photoshop this version of Knuckles with a pair of butters (Timberland boots for those who don’t know), and a New York Yankees fitted! This Echidna knows da wae (Ugandan Knuckles reference for those who don’t know). Elba also brings a dry comedic tone to Knuckles that never falls flat.
Schwartz (Sonic) and Elba (Knuckles) bounce off each other very well and bring that dynamic from the games onto the big screen also. Colleen O’Shaughnessey reprising her role as Miles ‘Tails’ Prower sends us all on a nostalgia trip. Bringing the smart and charming cuteness of Tails onto the big screen.
Vocal performances and action aside, the story does have a deep emotional center with its coming of age story that sees Sonic become the hero he needs to be. Making him understand the meaning of being a hero, and how important family and friendships truly are. These points are all driven home during multiple exchanges between Knuckles and himself. Despite their ideologies clashing, Sonic and Knuckles find common ground and aid each other in taking down Dr. Robotnik, while also being helped by Tails and his wits.
Seeing the film introduce the Master Emerald, the Chaos Emeralds, Robotnik’s mech, Super Sonic, and even Tail’s plane, the Tornado expands the world-building, while providing fans with a perfect dose of fan service. This trend continues with the film’s mid-credits scene which introduces us to the live-action version of Shadow the Hedgehog, a long-time rival of Sonic the Hedgehog.
When it’s all said and done, Sonic the Hedgehog 2 fires on all cylinders providing yet another fun family film that pays great homage to the source material while providing that Saturday morning cartoon vibe. Further proving that a proper live-action video game adaption can be done, not once but twice. The cast shines and makes the most of what their given no matter how big or small their respective roles are. And while the CGI/VFX are sometimes spotty, they do shine where they are needed the most.
Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is now playing in theaters everywhere.
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