Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (2022) Review

It’s go big or go home mantra for Sonic the Hedgehog 2, the immediate sequel to the first movie released two years ago. Returning director Jeff Fowler alongside screenwriters Pat Casey and Josh Miller with additional input from John Whittington, who co-wrote The Lego Batman Movie and The Lego Ninjago Movie doesn’t seem to believe that less is more.

Instead, everything here is multiplied: more fun, more action, more CGI, more fan-favourite characters… well, you know the rest. Even the sequel is now stretched into a two-hour length compared to the first movie, which ran 20 minutes shorter.

Sonic the Hedgehog 2 gets off to a promising start, picking up where we left off as Dr Robotnik (Jim Carrey) is stuck on the mushroom planet. I love the Back to the Future and Cast Away references here and long story short, he manages to find his way back to planet Earth. Let’s just say he made a deal with a vengeful red echidna named Knuckles (Idris Elba). The latter, in the meantime, is determined to locate the powerful Master Emerald hidden somewhere on Earth.

Tails (voiced by Colleen O'Shaughnessey) in "Sonic the Hedgehog 2" (2022)

The fun continues to zip along as Sonic the Hedgehog 2 re-introduces our titular bright-blue spiky hero (voiced by Ben Schwartz), as he tries to stop the getaway bank robbers during a high-pursuit chase. The sequel subsequently takes a breather to make way for some interaction moments between Sonic and Tom Wachowski (James Marsden). We soon learn about Tom and his wife Maddie (Tika Sumpter) taking a Hawaiian vacation to attend Maddie’s sister’s (Natasha Rothwell’s Rachel) wedding, leaving Sonic to enjoy all the time in the world with their family dog at home, complete with the blue hedgehog recreating Tom Cruise’s famous Risky Business-like dance scene.

Then, we met the orange-yellow fox named Tails (Colleen O’Shaughnessey), who got the name because, well, you know for the obvious reason. He manages to track down Sonic using his gadget and warns him about Knuckles. Apparently, Sonic has an old map that contains important clues to the location of the compass. Whoever finds the compass first will lead them to Master Emerald.

Jim Carrey reprised his role as Dr Robotnik in "Sonic the Hedgehog 2" (2022)

Certain scenes such as Sonic and Tails’ dance battle against the Siberians in the bar and particularly the wedding subplot involving Rachel and her soon-to-be-husband Randall (Shemar Moore) could have used some serious trimming. While the numerous past and present movie references are fun, Pointing Rick Dalton/Leonardo DiCaprio GIF moments, some of the jokes sound either dated (the Limp Bizkit reference is one of them) or trying too hard to be funny. The latter can be evidently seen from Jim Carrey’s typically rapid-fire banter and slapstick humour as he looks desperately wanted to go all out in his bonkers Dr Robotnik character. It would be a pity if this turns out to be his final performance especially after Carrey recently announced his plan to retire from acting.

Still, Sonic the Hedgehog 2 benefits from Sonic and Tails’ buddy-comedy chemistry and so does the introduction of Knuckles, thanks to Idris Elba’s hilariously deadpan delivery. The action is top-notch and the special effects improve a lot, with notable set-pieces like the exciting snowboarding moment straight out from Sonic the Hedgehog 3‘s IceCap Zone gameplay. The overall pacing is fast enough to keep you occupied throughout the movie, albeit with a few hiccups.

Likewise, don’t leave your seat the moment the end credits start rolling. Stick around for the retro-cool 8-bit game animation and of course, the mid-credits stinger that paves way for Sonic the Hedgehog 3. At the time of writing, the sequel has already made North American box-office history as the highest opening weekend ever (US$71 million) for a video-game movie genre.