Sonic the Hedgehog 2

Sonic sequel needs the avoid the speed traps.

I envy at how Sonic the Hedgehog (voiced by Ben Schwartz) can send his human friends Tom (James Marsden) and Maddie (Tika Sumpter) through his portal ring to Hawaii for a wedding, and does his airport act under Airline Sonic. I wish I could take that airport instead of dealing with TSAs and layovers, but I’m stuck in the real world.

That’s how “Sonic the Hedgehog 2” begins, and it’s one of the many good ideas to be tethered to its cliches. After seeing the obnoxious antics of candy for breakfast and sliding down the stairs in the awful “Home Sweet Home Alone,” it seems obligatory that while Tom and Maddie are away, Sonic will play. After a “Risky Business” intro, he has to mess up the house, but when Tom FaceTimes him, Sonic is able to clean up the mess in a nanosecond. I’ll take my chances with Sonic over Archie Yates’ worst performance.

The original film from 2020 was able to redesign the title Sega game character into his original design (with the isis added), and it still keeps up the good work, not just with Sonic, but also the yellow fox Tails, who sounds like his voice actress Colleen O’Shaughnessey and can use his two tails as a helicopter, and the red echidna Knuckles, who is voiced by Idris Elba (in his fourth movie voice role) and is so strong that shaking his hand is not ideal.

Jim Carrey was brilliant in the first movie as the evil Dr. Robotnik, because of his gimmicks that made him so brilliant in the 90s. In this sequel, they give him the Eggman look with the shaved head, goggles, and bushy mustache, but it seems to rely too much of his behavior and ends up becoming exhausting.

His dastardly plan is to team up with Knuckles to find a sacred gem, which would give him ultimate power. What magic gem wouldn’t? Tails gives Sonic the warning of the upcoming danger, and he brings the little guy along to save the world.

“Sonic the Hedgehog 2” has some fun moments and a sense of nostalgia for fans, and kids will definitely enjoy the antics. I liked how Tails is able to make the gadgets to make the enemies levitate and to make holograms versions of himself and Sonic for a dance off. And I liked how the filmmakers (including director Jeff Fowler) chose to keep O’Shaughnessey in her territory. I’ve never played the video game, but after hearing Zendaya voicing Lola Bunny in “Space Jam: A New Legacy,” my choice of the worst film of 2021, it’s clear they should use cartoon voice actors to voice cartoon characters in movies.

I know this sounds conflicting, but very once in a while, celebrities can voice cartoon characters, but it’s more ideal if we’re meeting them for the first time, like Jack Black as Po the Panda in “Kung Fu Panda” or John Cena as Ferdinand the bull in “Ferdinand.” Just as long as the casting directors don’t commercialize them haphazardly. Schwartz still has the exuberant attitude as the voice of Sonic, but I liked Elba even more as Knuckles, because of his mannerisms and convictions.

But this one didn’t speak to me as much as the first one did, because it moves a bit too fast and goes on a little too long. There are other cliches involving a ruined wedding, not just because of the dangers Sonic and Tails find themselves in, but because of an undercover sting operation, which doesn’t have much of a pay-off. Maybe if it wasn’t for that, the ruined wedding would have been more disastrously formulaic. I don’t know.

Elba just signed up for a Knuckles spin-off series, and a third film is in development. They both need to avoid the speed traps in order to reel us in to their stories, while having fun with the dangers. For now, “Sonic the Hedgehog 2” is a mixed bag for me with good ideas, and too much of a good thing.

Rating: 2.5 out of 4.

Categories: Action, Adventure, Animation, comedy, Family, Fantasy, Sci Fi, Sequel

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