Everything is the same in Green Hills – SONIC THE HEDGEHOG 2 mixes the familiar ingredients of its predecessor together again in a similar way until a very average, but occasionally surprising, end result is achieved. We reveal more about this in our review.
OT: Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (USA 2022)
After Sonic (in USA: Julien Bam) settles in Green Hills, he wants to prove that he has what it takes to be a real hero. The opportunity is not long in coming when he is attacked by his arch-enemy Dr. Robotnik (Jim Carrey) and his new partner Knuckles (original: Idris Elba) are challenged and put to the ultimate test. The villain duo is searching for a mysterious emerald that has the power to destroy entire civilizations. How good that the most energetic hedgehog in the world also gets reinforcements and now has his friend Tails at his side. Together they embark on an action-packed journey around the globe to find the mysterious gemstone before it falls into the wrong hands.
In Hollywood, if something is successful, it continues. So say the law. And the probability of the former is particularly high if a film already has a fan base. This is also the case with Jeff Fowler’s “Sonic the Hedgehog”, the film adaptation of the video game of the same name. It grossed over 300 million US dollars (with production costs of around 90 million) worldwide. For (or precisely because of?) the controversy surrounding the failed figure design, which was fundamentally changed for the better after a huge outcry from the fan base. To this day it is not entirely clear whether this could have been a clever promotional campaign; Ultimately, this suggested to potential moviegoers that they had a hand in the final result. Now “Sonic the Hedgehog 2”, also by Fowler, is the sequel, which was created without much attention. There was no tinkering with the team either in front of or behind the scenes. So the ingredients for an average blockbuster remain the same, which made the first part the epitome of an average mainstream production. One that hardly stays in your head, but doesn’t stick there in a negative way due to major weak points.
“Sonic 2” brings a new villain to the stage with Knuckles.
“Sonic the Hedgehog 2” does not follow on seamlessly from its predecessor (the exact period of time between the two films is not entirely clear. In any case, the villain spent a fairly long time in isolation on the mushroom planet to which he was sent at the end of the first part was banned), but still feels like it was made right after “Sonic 1”. All the actors act in their tried and tested mode. The imagery – including the quality of the effects – once again fluctuates between solid, down-to-earth and over-the-top, overstimulating. And both the cross-references to the inspiration from the games as well as the gags and pop culture references come in the same number as in part one. Nevertheless, “Sonic the Hedgehog 2” is overall the more rounded and surprising film. Despite the overall rather average ingredients, the script by returning author Josh Miller and his new co-writer John Wittington (who was already involved in the story for part one) is at least impressive one The decisive story turning point is a massive surprise – this even makes the one at the beginning of the film seem exaggerated “Don’t Spoiler!”spot seem plausible.
“Despite the overall rather average ingredients, the screenplay by returning author Josh Miller and his new co-writer John Wittington is at least able to surprise massively at a crucial story turning point.”
Just as plausible as the fact that the original cast wasn’t just stuck with for the sake of continuity. James Marsden (“Girls’ Night”) is once again the thoroughly charismatic sympathizer who, together with his girlfriend (Tika Sumpter), has taken care of his spiky-blue foster son Sonic. In USA, Julien Bam acts as the animated main character as convincingly as one can without a professional dubbing background and Jim Carrey (“Dumb and Dumbermore”) Compared to part one, it even goes through an increase in absurdity. And even if his exaggerated, eccentric performance can certainly be perceived as exhausting, it suits the interpretation of his caricatured villain character that he even goes one step further in “Sonic the Hedgehog 2”. His obsessive Dr. Robotnik is the perfect antagonist for a film that is largely aimed at a young audience. His demeanor is unerring and impressive enough to intimidate a less film-experienced audience, but at the same time so crazy and comic-like that serious fear never arises. In the end, his character is simply far too aloof and over-the-top for that. The same applies to his animated henchman Knuckles, whose threat is always offset by the fact that he – always taking everything exactly literally – has a fairly long line and misunderstands various instructions.
…and digs out an old one again: Dr. Robotnik (Jim Carrey)!
Speaking of the young target audience: At the time of writing, “Sonic the Hedgehog 2” is still rated for ages 12 and up. A death knell for a film in this category, which the distributor is already taking action against. In fact, such a high rating is absolutely incomprehensible given the action, let alone violence, content. “Sonic the Hedgehog 2” is free of any brutal confrontation and the sensory overload due to the brightly colored, fast-paced chases etc. supported by lots of CGI may be slightly overwhelming for some all too young viewers, but by no means lastingly disturbing. Especially because the boundaries between good and evil are once again very clear. And “evil” isn’t actually that evil or how it appears. In addition, there is a new, likeable identification figure in the orange, double-tailed vixen Tales, who from now on goes on adventures together with Sonic before a third part joins this hero duo in the last third. This only helps the overview of the action scenes to a limited extent, but it increases the pace massively and creates one or two charming friendship moments that make “Sonic 2” a bit more emotional than part one.
“’Sonic the Hedgehog 2′ is free of any brutal confrontation and the overstimulation of the brightly colored, fast-paced chases etc. supported by lots of CGI may be slightly overwhelming for some all too young viewers, but by no means lastingly disturbing.”
Nevertheless, “Sonic 2” ultimately remains more of a film in the “nice” category. That’s better than “completely forgettable”; It has scenes that stand out in a positive way and, on top of that, enough (visual) stimuli to make going to the cinema entertaining and – especially for a young audience – consistently exciting. Nevertheless, “Sonic 2” will not be a film that will be remembered for years to come. The formula remains too stuck in business as usual mode and has therefore simply been seen a thousand times…
Conclusion: “Sonic the Hedgehog 2” is overall better than its predecessor, but it still doesn’t stand out enough from the crowd of CGI-heavy action-adventure productions that the film will be remembered for many years to come .
“Sonic the Hedgehog 2” can be seen in USA cinemas from March 31, 2022.