I’ll admit, I wasn’t a fan of the first Sonic the Hedgehog movie from pre-pandemic 2020, which I didn’t think was a hot take at the time, but oh was I wrong! As video game movies go, the film adaptation of beloved Sega character Sonic was weirdly accepted, some even dubbing it the best video game movie we have ever gotten.
Kind of damning with faint praise if you ask me, but whatever.
Anyways…I thought it was lame.
As is the case with most extremely misguided Hollywood-izations of animated characters, the first movie traded the colorful and imaginative landscape of the titular hedgehog’s world that is featured in the prologue for a paint-by-numbers road trip plot set on boring Earth. Sonic has a bag full of magic portal rings that can literally take him anywhere in the universe, and he uses them to go to… California.
Despite Sonic the Hedgehog 2 not being a major improvement over its predecessor, it is unburdened by the obligation of introducing this character and his universe. This allows the writers to utilize these elements at their full potential, while also having a lot more fun plot-wise.
Dr. Ivo Robotnik (Jim Carrey) is back, and with the help of new friend Knuckles the Echidna (Idris Elba), travels back to Earth to enact vengeance on his old foe Sonic the Hedgehog (Ben Schwartz). On Earth, his attention is steered towards the coveted Master Emerald, a magical relic that permits its user to turn thoughts into reality. Sonic is joined by a new friend too, an innovative two-tailed fox named Tails (Colleen O’Shaughnessey), and together the two must combat Robotnik’s sinister plot and save the world!
I found a lot more value in Sonic the Hedgehog 2 as an outsider to this franchise. The first movie suffocated the original idea in a story-line so formulaic that there is really no reason to keep watching. But there is redemption for the series! While it’s plot blueprint has been used by millions of other adventure tales, by choosing to focus on new and interesting character dynamics, these welcome additions of creative lore allows this sequel to really do Sonic’s world justice.
However, my original complaint remains: we are still stuck on Earth for the majority of the film, and the climax is set in the same place, Green Hills, MT, as the first movie. Through my very reliable source, Wikipedia, I learned that “Green Hills” is an homage to the first level of the Sonic game, and we are still there!
Here’s hoping the inevitable Sonic 3 takes us to level two.