Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (2022) poster

Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (2022)


USA/Japan. 2022.


Director – Jeff Fowler, Screenplay – Pat Casey, Josh Miller & John Whittington, Story – Pat Casey & Josh Miller, Based on the Videogame by Sega, Producers – Toby Ascher, Neal H. Moritz, Toru Nakahara & Hitoshi Okuno, Photography – Brandon Trost, Music – Tom Holkenborg, Visual Effects Supervisor – Ged Wright, Visual Effects – Animism Studios (Supervisor – Jon Anastasiades), Blur Studio (Creative Supervisor – Alex Beaty), DNeg (Supervisor – Kunal Ghosh Dastider), Fatbelly VFX (Supervisor – Keegen Douglas), Fish Flight Entertainment Inc. (Supervisor – Paul Furmiger), MPC (Supervisors – Etienne Dingle & Matt Jacobs), Track VFX (Supervisors – Jarrod Avalos & Joel Sevilla) & Unit Motion Design (Supervisor – Francois-Come du Boistesselin), Animation & Visual Effects – Marza Animation Planet (Supervisor – David Nelson), Special Effects Supervisor – Joel Whist, Production Design – Luke Freeborn. Production Company – Paramount/Sega Sammy Group/Original Film/Marza Animation Planet/Blur Studio.


Jim Carrey (Dr Robotnik), James Marsden (Tom Wachowski), Tika Sumpter (Maddie Wachowski), Lee Majdoub (Agent Stone), Natasha Rothwell (Rachel), Adam Pally (Wade), Shemar Moore (Randall), Tom Butler (Commander Walters)


Ben Schwartz (Sonic), Idris Elba (Knuckles), Colleen O’Shaughnessy (Tails)


Dr Robotnik is able to end his exile to The Mushroom Planet with the aid of Knuckles, an echidna that appears through one of the portals. Together they head to Earth. Meanwhile, Sonic is maintaining a secret life as a superhero in Seattle but things are going disastrously wrong due to his inexperience. Tom and Maddie Wachowski travel to Hawaii to the wedding of her friend Rachel, leaving Sonic back at the house alone. Sonic is interrupted by the arrival of Robotnik and Knuckles, wanting to know the whereabouts of the all-powerful Master Emerald. Fleeing from them, Sonic is aided by the two-tailed fox Tails. Together Sonic and Tails set out using the ring portals to follow the treasure map and get to the Master Emerald before Robotnik.

Sonic the Hedgehog (2020) was a film based on the popular Sega videogame that was originally created in 1991. The success of the game had spawned multiple sequels, comic-books and animated tv series. The film accrued some controversy when the first trailer appeared where the design of Sonic had strayed from the game character. The studio took the fan outcry to heart and delayed the film’s release so they could go back and digitally redesign the character. The finished film came out in February 14, 2020 where it earned a reasonable $149 million at the US box-office, $319 million total worldwide. Of course, this was just before the Covid pandemic was declared – with the subsequent closure of theatrical venues in most parts of the world, this ended up making Sonic the Hedgehog the third top-earning film in the US for 2020, the sixth top-earning film internationally.

Given the first film’s success, this sequel is no particular surprise. Director Jeff Fowler, almost all of the original cast and the same writers and producers have returned. The sequel incorporates other aspects from videogame game continuity including the supporting characters of Tails and Knuckles the Echidna, as well as the game coupon of the Master Emerald that Knuckles guards.

The Sonic the Hedgehog film was more entertaining that it had the right to be. Jeff Fowler gave it an enormous degree of energy, while Jim Carrey seemed to have found his calling in life playing a cartoonish Super-Villain (who here becomes literally mustache-twirling). I avoid trying to make review comments along the lines of “if you liked the original, you will like this one too,” as it seems to hold an implied disdain for fans and say they will accept a lesser threshold of critical acceptance than everybody else. In this case though, it feels a perfectly apt criticism to make.

Dr Robotnik (Jim Carrey) and Knuckles the Echidna (voiced by Idris Elba) in Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (2022)
Dr Robotnik (Jim Carrey) and Knuckles the Echidna (voiced by Idris Elba)

The reason you can say “if you liked the original, you will like this one too” is simply because Sonic the Hedgehog 2 rehashes almost all of the aspects of the first film with the most minimal difference. There’s the cute, anthropomorphic character that seems an embodiment of adolescent innocence at the centre of the show where much of his dialogue consists of tossing off an endless array of pop culture references; There’s Jim Carrey taking the role of Robotnik to even more rafter-rattling excess than he did the first time out (to the extent that the first film’s principal live-action character of James Marsden’s Tom is largely sidelined for most of the show).

It is all put together with a series of slick and kinetic action sequences. And there is nothing whatsoever in the film designed to engage the mind of anybody over the age of eight. On the other hand, while the first film transcended all of this by its sheer energy and sense of fun, Sonic the Hedgehog 2 falls the other side of the thin dividing line and does not. It is a packaged formula film that does no more than rehash the essentials of the original.

This time, Jeff Fowler’s action and effects sequences feel uninspired. There is nothing here on the level of the sequences racing down the highway pursued by Robotnik’s gadgets or the slow-motion barroom brawl that we had in the original. Fowler gives us a ho-hum dance-off sequence in a Siberian bar and another vehicular mayhem sequence with Sonic driving a collapsing armoured van but you can pass either of these by as no more than CGI eye candy. The climax has Jim Carrey creating a massive Mecha robot and Sonic having to fly in to tackle it aboard a biplane for no real reason other than because. The effects work in the sequence are good but you feel by now that having watched five Transformers films that this kind of thing is run of the mill.

Trailer here

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