Movies based on video games get a bad rap. Perhaps it has to do with the films paling in comparison to the video games, unable to capture the essence that made the games great. Or the standard for a great video game movie is set exceptionally high because the games are so fantastic. Either way, it isn’t very often that fans walk away feeling satisfied with the film adaptations of some of their favorite games. So how did Sonic The Hedgehog 2 compare to other video game movies? And more importantly, did Blue Justice improve upon the first film in the Sega series? Put on your red racing shoes and let’s speed right into it!
[Warning: Spoilers from Sonic 2 are below! Read at your own risk!]
Sonic 2 picks up not long after the ending of the original film. Sonic, voiced by Ben Schwartz, is still living with Tom (James Marsden) and Maddie (Tika Sumpter), his adoptive family. While he seems happy with his family, Sonic also dreams of being a hero similar to Batman.
However, being young and too fast for his own good, Sonic’s methods aren’t always well thought out. Cue the hijinx! Sonic’s opening fight/race sequence was hilarious, but also helped paint the picture of how young and in-experienced the blue hedgehog is at being a hero.
The story moves quickly, by sending Tom and Maddie away for a wedding and allowing the film to truly focus on Sonic. Stuck at home while the parents are away, Sonic is surprised by Doctor Robotnik (Jim Carrey) who has returned to Earth from his Mushroom prison that he ended the last film on. However, this time Robotnik brought a friend to the fight, a fiery red echidna named Knuckles, voiced by Idris Elba.
Robotnik’s mission is to find the Master Emerald, a source of unbelievable power. The emerald is also the object that caused a rift between Sonic’s animated family of owls seen briefly at the beginning of the first movie and Knuckle’s tribe. A race across the globe ensues, so Sonic, along with his new friend Tails (Colleen O’Shaughnessey) can save the world from total destruction.
Why Sonic the Hedgehog 2 Works so Well
Sonic 2 stands out as such an exemplary video game film because it truly puts Sonic front and center. While his human family was still a part of the story, their presence wasn’t the main story. The film instead focused on the bonding of Sonic and Tails, developing that friendship as well as Knuckles who comes around in the end.
The film also works perfectly with Carrey’s over-the-top comedic style. Seeing him act in his usual manner fits in a world where a blue hedgehog can speed faster than a car and a yellow fox and fly with his two tails. I’m not always a huge fan of Carrey’s comedic roles, but this one made me laugh instead of the usual cringe.
Sonic 2 also has a lot of heart. The film speaks a lot about wanting to grow up quickly as a child and what it means to be a kid. Something that both the children and parents in the audience can understand. It also touches on family, especially the family we find. Sonic is loved more than anything by his human mother and father, but also finds creatures from other worlds who became a second family. As someone who is adopted, it warmed my heart to see a message about family that isn’t just a blood bond.
Sonic 2 balances the funny with the action
This movie truly has something for everyone. There are tons of action sequences, including a final fight that sees a glowing Sonic take down Dr. Robotnik in a robotic suit. How many times has that scenario played out on our gaming systems growing up?
As well, the jokes were hilarious. Having gone to see it with both my nephew and mother, it was surprising to see all three of us laugh at most of the jokes. It wasn’t all just immature humor, but layered jokes that could appeal to varying degrees of maturity. All three of us walked out of the film raving about how great it was, speaking to the greatness of the film.
What Didn’t Work in Sonic 2
For all the parts that were fantastic about the film, there were some components that didn’t fit. While I love seeing Sonic interact with Tom and Maddie, the storyline of a friend’s wedding in Hawaii felt shoehorned in just to have recognizable faces in the film. It felt like they didn’t know how to introduce G.U.N., an agency attempting to lock up Sonic, without a silly wedding story. However, there were parts of that storyline that still made me chuckle.
As well, the storyline of The Mean Bean as a Dr. Robotnik base of operation and the return of Stone (Lee Majdoub) felt unnecessary. It felt like they did it because they could, however, this storyline added nothing to the overall story.
Final Thoughts on the film
Overall, Sonic 2 was a success in my book. The story was enjoyable, Sonic and his friends were hilarious, and the film left me feeling warm. I’m excited to see where the story in the third film and the spin-off show focused on Knuckles will go.
It seems like Sega along with Paramount knows their characters and their audience. However, what do you think? Was Sonic 2 a total gem, Or a bust? Let us know over on Twitter @mycosmiccircus!
My rating for this film:
★★★★ / ♥♥♥♥♥
Sonic The Hedgehog 2 is currently in theaters.