When Sonic the Hedgehog came out in 2020, no one expected it to become a success. Movies based on video games never do well, with critics dismissing them and gamers complaining about every change that the movie makes to the game they loved.
However, Sonic got lucky with its release. It was one of the only movies in 2020 to do well, as it hit before COVID-19 shut down theaters in enough time to become the third highest-grossing movie of the year behind only Bad Boys For Life and 1917. It did so well thanks to great hybrid animation/live-action scenes and a lot of spirit and heart as Sonic tried to find his new family.
It made the sequel a no-brainer, and as the post-credit scene in the first movie showed, it also promised more animated characters to join Sonic (Ben Schwartz), in this case, the vindictive Knuckles (Idris Elba) and the kind fangirl Tails (Colleen O’Shaughnessey). And, of course, it wouldn’t be the same without the return of Dr. Robotnik (Jim Carrey), who was even more over-the-top and looney than he was in the first movie.
The movie opened with Sonic trying to become a superhero known as the Blue Blur, but proving to cause more problems than he fixed in the end. This resulted in a sit-down talk with Tom (James Marsden), to who Sonic said – in his best teenage angst voice – “you’re not my dad!”
That was the setup for this story. While Knuckles rescues Dr. Robotnik and brings him back to Earth to help him find a device that would allow them to control the world, Sonic is just trying to find his place in the world and his own people.
Knuckles is from the same race of beings that slaughtered Sonic’s own people and sent the hedgehog on the run. However, Knuckles people were also destroyed and he blames Sonic for everything he lost. It is their battle, and eventual climactic confrontation that really provides what made the first movie so popular – the heart of the story.
The best thing about Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is that it doesn’t try to be anything other than what it is. This is a movie about Sonic the Hedgehog trying to stop Dr. Robotnik’s evil plans while adding in two other characters to serve as allies and obstacles in this journey. Director Jeff Fowler came back from the first movie to deliver the story while adding a lot of musical cues and moments of action straight out of the games (the snowslide scene was especially thrilling).
Jim Carrey was clearly having the time of his life and proved that he is still one of the best physical comedians on the planet. The animation is also perfect, with the live-action actors playing perfectly off the CGI creatures without a glitch.
The movie once again ended with a post-credit scene showing more characters from the games are coming, and with two movies that were better than they ever had a right to be, expect Sonic 3 to go into production soon.