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Sonic The Hedgehog 2

When I first looked at the calendar of impending releases earlier in the year, I was fairly certain that I was going to be writing about the latest FANTASTIC BEASTS installment for this month’s column. There was a time not so along ago where the mere mention of the words “Harry” and/or “Potter” would be enough to score a $100 million opening. Plagued by a barrage of pitfalls (well, considering many of them were self-induced, I guess “pratfalls” would be the better word there) THE CRIMES OF GRINDEWALD has failed to thrive as others in the wizarding world have done.

So instead, here I am, talking about the more popular and more well-received film, SONIC THE HEDGEHOG 2. Yes, the beloved blue bolt of lightening is back for another big-screen adventure, and this time, he has brought some friends.

SONIC 2 picks up where the first film left off, with Dr. Robotnik (Jim Carrey) stranded on Mushroom planet. He’s looking to find his way back to earth so he can stop drinking mushroom coffee and more importantly, to exact his revenge on the snarky Sonic (Ben Schwartz). With the help of an electrified hedgehog quill he procured in the previous production, he fires up a satellite (obviously) that summons a super-grumpy, interdimensional critter named Knuckles (Idris Elba). Fans of the “Sonic” videogames will no doubt be elated with this, while those unfamiliar with the characters are at a SONIC THE HEDGEHOG movie, and can surely catch up soon enough.

Meanwhile, back on Earth, Sonic has evolved into a perpetually clumsy superhero. Armed with superspeed, sarcasm, and good intentions, he makes a mess, but he gets the job done. He’s kind of like HANCOCK without the hangover.

At the same time, the adorable Tails (Colleen O’Shaughnessey) is attempting to find Sonic to warn him that further perils await. The two haven’t met yet, but again, gamers will know that these two are destined to be best buds.

It’s probably safe to assume that a further deep dive into the plot of SONIC 2 isn’t all that necessary. I’m going to go out on a limb and assume that storylines aren’t the thing that is going to determine whether or not you’re going to see this movie. Given the success of the original film, the only thing that truly matters is whether or not the sequel measures up in comparison.

 

Much to my surprise, I really enjoyed the first movie. While I was more of a Nintendo guy growing up, I did dabble in the world of Sega, and Sonic definitely got plenty of play. This feeling of nostalgic endearment carried over to the big screen when the iconic character finally got the call. The movie was funny and engaging, with a good performance by James Marsden and an absolutely fantastic return to roots for Jim Carrey. Busting out the wise-crackin’ rubber-face mode of old, it was the perfect vehicle for Carrey to show a new generation that he’s much more than Andy Kaufman. Okay, your kids have never seen MAN ON THE MOON, and perhaps might not be ready for the nuances of my beloved Kaufman, but any time I can squeeze in a reference, I’m taking it.

Much like THE LEGO MOVIE 2, SONIC 2 lacks the element of surprise that made the original work as well as it did. No one truly anticipated those movies to be anything more than “sort of not terrible,” so when they were (admittedly THE LEGO MOVIE was lightyears ahead of SONIC, but you get the idea) it made them that much better. Now, expectations are established, the budget has increased, and fans expect more of the characters that they grew up with. The introduction of Tails and Knuckles works just fine, though the buddy-flick feel of the first film has been replaced with a “this is a movie based on a series of video games” vibe. Considering it is, in fact, a movie based on a series of video games, that’s fine, but I think it’s fair to hope for a little more. Thankfully, Carrey is along for the ride again, and while the schtick may wear thin for some, I grew up with ACE VENTURA and Fire Marshall Bill, so I’m here for it. Even when the jokes don’t land, the commitment is there, and that’s always going to score points with me.

SONIC THE HEDGEHOG 2
GRADE: B-

RATED: PG
RUN TIME: 2h 2min
GENRE: Animation, Action, Adventure
STARRING: James Marsden, Jim Carrey, Ben Schwartz
DIRECTOR: Jeff Fowler
WRITERS: Pat Casey, Josh Miller, John Whittington

Now playing in theaters

Brian Miller