‘Sonic the Hedgehog 2’ review: Fast, furry and familiar

There comes a time when a film – no, an event – so monumental, so historical, is going to change the course of cinematic history. A film looked beyond the norm, so clear, so incredibly fresh and groundbreaking, that it shakes the very foundation of film discourse for decades to come. Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is not that movie. But it’s okay. In fact, it’s a little comforting.

In a world where everyone is trying to get on the ground floor of the next big universe-launching franchise, we often forget that these movies do not always have to blow our minds to be worth it. The Marvel Cinematic Universe, for example, has delivered some truly astonishing moments, especially over the last few years, and the DCEU (or whatever we now call it now) has taken off on its own terms. While Sonic 2 certainly sets the franchise up for more sequels, spin-offs and maybe bears (oh my), it never loses sight of its truth; this is a movie based on a video game starring a super fast, anthropomorphic blue hedgehog. The second of these is coming in just two years!

In pure continuation, many are of Sonic 2s beats expands the story set in the first film. Sonic (Ben Schwartz) is still living happily with his adoptive family, Tom and Maddie Wachowski (James Marsden and Tika Sumpter, respectively). As the renters head to Hawaii for Maddie’s sister Rachel’s (Natasha Rothwell) wedding, Sonic prepares for a totally tubular home stay.

His radical pause is abandoned when Dr. Robotnik (Jim Carrey) returns to once again create chaos and totally tough Sonic’s gentleness. Not fat, dude. Anyway, Sonic 2, like the first one, is full of catchy one-liners and sickly ugly dialogue that, much like most of the terms I’ve used in this review, seems a bit dated. Yes, they float again. I am so sorry.

sonic 2
Paramount pictures

But like the first movie, Sonic 2 manages to balance that cheesy dialogue with real, heartfelt moments and a multi-layered story that reminds its audience that family is the one you choose to surround yourself with. Yes, we’re still talking about Sonic 2.

Included in the blue blur on his introspective journey are Knuckles the Echidna (Idris Elba) and Miles “Tails” Prower (Colleen O’Shaughnessey), two famous faces from the original games. While Knuckles acts as the secondary antagonist for much of the film, Tails plays the little brother role for Sonic, giving the hedgehog a more complete family dynamic that he did not realize he needed.

Nothing of what Sonic 2 doing with his plot is particularly new, it’s all things we’ve seen in animated family movies before. But it’s the cast and the crew’s clear dedication that lifts the film from “bad sequel limbo” and delivers a pretty fun and fast-paced movie experience.

Not to mention the clear love for the franchise that inspired the film. Sonic 2 is ripe with Easter eggs and references to the games fans have loved playing for decades. No surprise there, but they were enough to make this writer laugh and point at the screen as in true DiCaprio fashion, so they were certainly not uncut. If you enjoyed the first movie and do not mind two more hours with this version of big blue, Sonic 2 will not disappoint.

Sonic the Hedgehog 2 opens in theaters April 8th. Watch the official trailer here.

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