There comes a time when a movie—nay, an event—so monumental, so historical comes to change the course of cinematic history. A film so outside the norm, so distinct, 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 that’s okay. In fact, it’s kind of comforting.
In a world where everyone is trying to get in on the ground floor of the next big universe-launching franchise, we often forget that these movies don’t always have to blow our minds in order to be worthwhile. The Marvel Cinematic Universe, for instance, has delivered some truly jaw-dropping moments, especially over the last few years, and the DCEU (or whatever we’re calling it now) has been pickup up speed on its own terms. While Sonic 2 certainly sets the franchise up for multiple 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 one of these to come in just two years!
In pure sequel fashion, many of Sonic 2’s beats expand on the story set up in the first film. Sonic (Ben Schwartz) still lives happily with his adoptive human family, Tom and Maddie Wachowski (James Marsden and Tika Sumpter, respectively). While the ‘rents head to Hawaii for Maddie’s sister Rachel’s (Natasha Rothwell) wedding, Sonic prepares for a totally tubular home staycation.
His radical recess is relinquished when Dr. Robotnik (Jim Carrey) returns to wreak havoc once more and totally harsh Sonic’s mellow. Not cool, dude. Anyway, Sonic 2, much like the first one, is full of catchy one-liners and sick nasty dialogue that much like most of the terms I’ve used in this review, seem a bit dated. Yes, they dab again. I’m so sorry.
But much like the first movie, Sonic 2 manages to balance the cheesy dialogue with genuine, heartfelt moments and a multi-layered story that reminds its audience that family is who you choose to surround yourself with. Yes, we’re still talking about Sonic 2.
Joining the blue blur on his introspective journey is Knuckles the Echidna (Idris Elba) and Miles “Tails” Prower (Colleen O’Shaughnessey), two familiar faces from the original games. While Knuckles serves as the secondary antagonist for much of the film, Tails plays the little brother role to Sonic, giving the hedgehog a more complete family dynamic he didn’t realize he needed.
None of what Sonic 2 does with its plot is particularly new, it’s all stuff we’ve seen in animated family movies before. But it’s the cast and crew’s clear dedication that elevates the film from “bad sequel limbo” and delivers a pretty fun and fast cinematic 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 chuckle and point at the screen like in true DiCaprio fashion, so they definitely didn’t go unappreciated. If you enjoyed the first film and don’t mind another two hours with this version of big blue, Sonic 2 won’t disappoint.
Sonic the Hedgehog 2 opens in theaters April 8. Watch the official trailer here.