By Blake Moren

Staff Writer

This review contains spoilers.

“Sonic the Hedgehog” was the first video game franchise I fell in love with. I loved the bright colors, the fast-paced gameplay, the near-perfect level design, and the fantastic music. The first “Sonic” game was one of the first video games that I ever played, and since then, I have become obsessed with this franchise.

I still love “Sonic” games, but not as much as I used to. The quality of some of the more recent games was extremely lackluster and disappointing, with the exceptions of “Sonic Colors,” “Sonic Generations,” and “Sonic Mania.” But to be honest, I still get excited when a new “Sonic” game is announced. However, this excitement is now cautious optimism. 

Upon hearing about a live-action “Sonic” movie, I was excited, but I retained that cautious optimism that I had for the “Sonic” games.

I remember seeing the first trailer that featured the filmmakers’ original design for Sonic. The trailer looked mediocre, and Sonic looked terrible. The widespread reaction to the design was similar to my own: it looked creepy and unsettling. Fortunately, the filmmakers decided to redesign Sonic completely, and the film was delayed to the following year.

The redesign revealed in the next trailer was a colossal improvement, and the trailer itself was incredible. My excitement level was now sky-high. When I saw the first “Sonic” film, I absolutely adored it, even if it wasn’t a perfect film.

This film was everything I wanted it to be, and I couldn’t wait for the sequel. When the first trailer and poster appeared on social media, I was super-excited. As I watched the first trailer, I said:  “This is the film I’ve been waiting for most of my life for.”

Now that I’ve seen it, I can honestly say that “Sonic the Hedgehog 2” is arguably the best live-action video game film ever made.

I know that the bar for video game movies is extremely low, with most of them being terrible, mediocre, or just flat-out weird. But honestly, I have a nostalgic soft spot for the 1993 “Super Mario Bros.” movie, even if it’s not that great or even good.

“Sonic the Hedgehog 2” was an absolute joy to watch. I loved almost everything about this film. There are so many aspects of this film that work flawlessly, even if some other things about the film are not so flawless.

As with every film ever made, there are quite a few flaws. Since this is a kids’ movie, some of the humor is a bit childish, but I honestly didn’t mind it that much. However, some of the humor just doesn’t really work in some scenes. Some of these jokes made me cringe, or they were just not that funny.  However, this film does have a lot of great jokes that were particularly hilarious.

The human aspect of the story is where I have a lot of criticisms. It felt completely unnecessary to include a wedding scene in this film for the most part. It had barely anything to do with the main story, and if the filmmakers edited down these scenes down a bit or just completely cut half of them out, it wouldn’t have hurt the film in any way. There is also a volleyball scene that just feels completely out of place and should have either completely cut out or edited down.

There is also an extremely weird dance-off that feels out of place, but it’s so weird and hilarious that I don’t mind it being in the movie.

The scenes that do work are the scenes that are pertinent to the main story. Some of these scenes are taken straight from the video games. The film succeeds when the humans, excluding Robotnik, are not present, but there are some exceptions. The scenes with humans that take place before and after the wedding are among my favorite scenes in the film.

The acting and voice acting are absolutely phenomenal in this film. 

Ben Schwartz is one of the best Sonic voices that the blue hedgehog has ever had, and there have been many of them, including Steve Urkel himself Jaleel White voicing him in all three nineties “Sonic” cartoons. Schwartz’s performance is not just hilarious but fitting, considering that Sonic is still kind of a kid in this film. As with the previous film, Schwartz does a fantastic job as Sonic, giving us some of the funniest scenes and also some of the more emotional and compelling scenes. 

Colleen O’Shaughnessy, who has voiced Tails in the “Sonic” video games since 2014, returns to voice Tails in this film, and man, does she do an amazing job in this film. Thanks to her performance, Tails is the most endearing and sweetest character in the movie.  

Now, let’s talk about the echidna himself: Knuckles. This portrayal of the character is so perfect that it puts the character among the film’s biggest highlights. Idris Elba’s performance is powerful and perfect, as well as extremely funny. While there are a few similarities to Drax from the “Marvel” films, Knuckles is almost identical to his video game counterpart, and the same could be said for Sonic and Tails. Excuse my language, but Knuckles is an absolute bad-ass in this film.

Jim Carrey is among the funniest actors alive, and like in the previous film, his performance as Dr. Robotnik is absolutely amazing.  He perfectly recaptures the over-the-top, maniacal, campy, and arrogant Robotnik from the video games. He was very entertaining to watch. If this is indeed his last film before his retirement, I’m glad to see that his last film contains one of his best performances to date.

Tom and Maddie, Sonic’s adoptive parents, are the only humans aside from Robotnik that I gave a crap about in this film. James Marsden and Tika Sumpter are very charming and funny in this film. Maddie’s sister Rachel, portrayed by Natasha Rothwell, is also pretty funny.

The story itself is pretty damn good, aside from most of the human scenes. This is among the most faithful video game adaptations to date, which makes the film super-special for me. The film contains so many references to the games that made me love the film even more.

The musical score by Tom Holkenborg is also amazing.

The CGI is absolutely breathtaking and is a remarkable improvement over its predecessor. Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles look absolutely perfect in this film. Seeing these three work together to take down Robotnik and his giant robot, a robot similar to the final bosses in “Sonic 2” and “Sonic & Knuckles,” was a very epic and nostalgic experience. 

The action scenes were fantastic, and some were super nostalgic to watch since some are taken directly from the games, most notably “Sonic 2”, “Sonic 3”, “Sonic & Knuckles,” and “Sonic Adventure.” It reminded me a little bit of “Sonic Heroes” as well.

As for the final battle with the giant Eggman robot and seeing Super Sonic on the big screen gave me chills. It was so epic to see Super Sonic destroy the Robotnik robot. I know that I sound like a nerd right now, but to be honest, I am a nerd.

That mid-credits scene, man.

If you’re a “Sonic” fan, you’ll absolutely love this mid-credits scene. I know I did. It contains a character that has been my absolute favorite character in the “Sonic” series. A dark and serious character and that’s all I will say about that mid-credits scene. 

Overall, this is probably the best video game movie ever made, but it’s not without its flaws.

My Rating: 4.1 / 5

Leave a Reply