Sonic The Hedgehog 2: The BRWC Review

Sonic The Hedgehog 2: Trailer Talk

One of the biggest video game film surprises was definitely ‘Sonic the Hedgehog’. What should’ve been a forgetful film, with a Sonic model that resembled a nightmare, became one of highest grossing video game films ever, grossing over $319million worldwide. It also became a lesson in why listening to fan criticism can be important to a product’s development. After director Jeff Fowler and Paramount Pictures listened to the feedback from the first trailer, the film was delayed for six months to redesign the main hedgehog. The result? A really fun film with a lovable blue hedgehog! But, due to the first film’s success, a sequel was inevitable, and, at the time of writing, ‘Sonic the Hedgehog 3’ is in development. 

‘Sonic the Hedgehog 2’ continues Sonic’s journey as he settles down in Green Hills, U.S with his best friend Tom (James Marsden). But, when the evil Dr Robotnik (Jim Carrey) returns with a new foe, Knuckles the Enchinda (Idris Elba), Sonic is forced to confront him once more and search for the Master Emerald, with a new companion: Miles ‘Tails’ Prowser (Collen O’Shanussy)! 

While the first film served as an introduction to a live action Sonic the Hedgehog film, the sequel eases fans into what the games are about. And, just like the first film, ‘Sonic the Hedgehog 2’ is a very entertaining and fun film. 

Gone are the days of the strange human-like Sonic that fans were ‘treated’ to in the first trailer for the previous entry. Paramount Pictures have thankfully learnt from their mistakes and not only given fans a truly fantastic film, but the visuals and animation have improved too. The CGI characters look fantastic and the attention to detail on each of the trio is impressive, especially the detailing of the fur. While this quality of CGI is expected in this age of filmmaking, it’s not always delivered, so it’s relieving to see the impressive visuals onscreen here. Especially considering this is a film that is an adaptation of a video game starring a blue speeding hedgehog! There also seems to be different styles of animation being utilized here, e.g.: during a battle scene, Sonic curls into a ball and the sparks that come off him give the impression that the animators have portrayed the sparks in 2D animation rather than 3D. Whether that is the case or not, it looks like it and it gives the characters life and makes their portrayal unique. 

The films had a tough challenge of portraying Sonic in a way that was accurate to the games but wasn’t annoying. But both films have managed to find the right balance; the lead hedgehog is charming and adorable, perfectly voiced by Ben Schwartz once more. Giving him an innocent and childlike personality was the best decision made when portraying this iteration of the hedgehog. And he’s charming in this too; despite his last adventure, he clearly has a lot to learn about life on Earth and being responsible with his powers. 

And, while he does have a friendship with Tom, a new companion is introduced: Tails aka Miles Prowser. Voiced by Tails veteran Collen O’Shanussy, Tails the two tailed fox was first introduced in an end credit scene of the last film and has come to Earth to help Sonic defeat Dr Robotnik. Tails is my favourite Sonic character, so I was really excited when the end credit scene occurred, and he made his first appearance. And this iteration has not disappointed me; he is fantastic. He carries an innocent personality, just like Sonic in the last film, but is also intelligent and is the one who gives Sonic, and to an extent the audience, the film’s exposition. While the execution could be forced, it isn’t; it fits into the film seamlessly and is delivered quickly so the rest of the plot can continue. If there was anything to critique, it would be that Tails and Sonic don’t get as many scenes together as I would like, but this is a small criticism when compared to the overall film. And the voice acting is great; Collen O’Shanussy has voiced Tails in the games for the past decade, so casting her was an obvious choice and the performance fits in perfectly. 

And, if that wasn’t enough, Dr Robotnik escapes the Mushroom Planet, that he was banished to, with the help of Knuckles the Echidna! Voiced by Idris Elba, Knuckles is a well-trained warrior from the same planet as Sonic and vows to stop Sonic and get the Master Emerald, an emerald that gives the owner powers gained purely from their thoughts. Jim Carrey returns to play the scientist and his crazy portrayal is back once again. But, while he’s fantastic once more, it’s Knuckles that steals the limelight from him. Just like Sonic and Tails, Knuckles’ design is completely accurate to the games, and he looks awesome! The voice acting by Idris Elba also gives Knuckles a powerful presence; it’s clear that he’s been trained to be a warrior and the voice acting and animation does a perfect job of executing this. But the film also does a good job at making Knuckles a fish out of water-type character just like Tails. This is their first time coming to Earth, so their understanding of life on this planet is lacking, and that does give the film some great comedic moments. I didn’t expect Knuckles to be my favourite character after this film, but he is; he serves as a great villain and, at times, a great comedic character. 

But the biggest aspect I loved about ‘Sonic the Hedgehog 2’ is its unapologetic approach to the plot. Paramount have learnt what happens when they try to make this property grounded in reality and so, with this film, they’ve gone the opposite direction and it works beautifully. The Master Emerald is an emerald that holds amazing powers, Dr Robotnik’s mech robot is completely accurate to the games in its design, and the three furry characters are accurate to the games as well. And, while this approach should be obvious, far too many adaptations have tried to recreate their properties in a realistic fashion and have failed a lot of the time. Therefore, I’m glad ‘Sonic’ didn’t fall into this trap when it easily could’ve done. 

However, the film isn’t without its problems and that is the story arc revolving around the human characters Tom and Maddie: this aspect of the film didn’t work and dragged the pacing down a lot. While the reasoning to Tom and his wife Maddie’s (Tika Sumpter) existence is understandable, it felt like the sequel didn’t know what to do with them and so places them in a subplot revolving around a wedding. It didn’t add anything to the film and unfortunately felt like a waste of runtime. This is a shame because I liked these two characters in the first film, and their friendship with Sonic is adorable. But the film didn’t utilize them properly, so their scenes felt jarring compared to the more exciting plot with Tails, Sonic, Knuckles and Dr Robotnik. 

However, if you got enjoyment out of the first film, then I would highly recommend ‘Sonic the Hedgehog 2’. It does a lot with its 2-hour runtime and, for the most part, utilizes it well and I had a smile on my face throughout. Plus, the addition of Tails and Knuckles was a fantastic choice and they’re portrayed perfectly here. Sonic and Tails friendship is wonderful, while Knuckles completely steals the limelight from the ever fantastic Jim Carrey. 

If there ever was a pleasantly surprising adaptation, it’s the Sonic films; what started as a meme and a laughingstock amongst fans turned into one of the highest grossing video game adaptations with the announcement of a third film in development. If there was a film to support in mainstream cinemas right now, it’s ‘Sonic the Hedgehog 2’. And don’t worry; an article on THAT mid credit scene will be arriving soon!

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Megan’s taste in films are interesting: her favourite films are ‘Space Jam’, Studio Ghibli’s ‘The Cat Returns’, as well as horror films ‘Saw’, ‘Drag Me To Hell’ and ‘Ju-On: The Grudge’. When she’s not watching films, she’ll be spending precious hours playing ‘Crash Bandicoot’.