The first Sonic the Hedgehog movie was, somewhat surprisingly, a huge hit. In the US, it was the all-time highest grossing movie based on a video game. When you consider the competition, that’s not the most impressive brag, but it means Sonic was profitable enough that we now have the inevitable sequel. It’s marginally funnier than the very unfunny first film and has less cheap-looking CGI.
Much like the first movie, Sonic 2 has the hollow efficiency of a movie forced into being to sell merchandise and for product placement. It does far better at advertising the Four Seasons in Hawaii than entertaining its audience, whatever the age. Most of the cast work hard to sell a script peppered with fart jokes and uninspired set pieces, but it’s so chaotically plotted that it quickly becomes exhausting.
We pick up where the last film left off, with alien hedgehog Sonic (voiced by Ben Schwartz) living as the peculiar adopted son of small-town sheriff Tom (James Marsden) and his wife Maddie (Tika Sumpter). Banished to another planet at the end of the last movie, villainous Doctor Robotnik (Jim Carrey) has found his way back to Earth by inventing a ‘getting back to Earth’ machine.
Accidentally, he’s picked up Knuckles (voiced with little enthusiasm by Idris Elba), an echidna that possesses the same super-speed as Sonic, plus super-strength, and a super-grudge against our blue hero. A flying fox called Tails (voiced by Colleen O’Shaughnessey) comes to help Sonic and everyone dashes around the world trying to claim a big green gem that has special powers. Logic is not in abundance.
It has the hollow efficiency of a movie forced into being to sell merchandise
Marsden and Sumpter are again charming in thin roles, Schwartz has boundless energy as Sonic, and nobody could accuse Carrey of phoning it in, gurning and prancing his way through the film in a valiant effort to disguise the lack of actual jokes. The MVP, however, is Natasha Rothwell as Maddie’s sister, Rachel, whose role is beefed up from the first film. She fumes her way through a disastrous wedding plotline that is a lot more fun than any of the more CG-heavy stuff. There’s plenty of on-screen talent involved here, but they’re all far better than the material. Hopefully, the all-but-certain Sonic 3 will level-up the script.
Out Mar 31 in Australian and Singapore cinemas, Apr 1 in the UK, Apr 8 in the US and Apr 14 in Hong Kong.