As I was planning to go see this, it was interesting to look back when I covered the first movie two years ago. It was the last movie I saw before the pandemic hit and it, like Detective Pikachu, are testaments to the changing attitude towards movies based on video games. And with the sequel here, I’m hopeful that it will prove the adage, good things come in three.
Eight months after the events of the last movie, Sonic (Ben Schwartz) is trying to use to powers to act as a hero. Tom (James Marsden) and his wife Maddie (Tika Sumpter) go to Hawaii for Maddie’s sister Rachel (Natasha Rothwell) who’s marrying Randall (Shemar Moore). With the grownups away, the hedgehog will play; until Eggman (Jim Carrey) returns with a new sidekick-Knuckles (voiced by Idris Elba), an echidna whose tribe has been pursuing Sonic for years. After being saved by Tails (Colleen Ann O’Shaughnessey), a two-tailed fox who, the two pursue the Master Emerald, a relic that can bend reality. What follows is an-around-the-globe race to get the Emerald before Eggman and Knuckles get their hands on it.
Just like the last movie, the performances are this movie’s strong suit. Ben Schwartz and Jim Carrey really carry this movie. At times, it feels like the two are in competition to see who can out-ham the other. The two have this hyperactive energy that matches the speed that Sonic is synonymous with. Colleen Ann O’Shaughnessy also gives a solid performance-bringing the same energy she does when voicing Tails in the game. One thing that makes the acting strong is the new faces they got. Idris Elba is a dynamic foil for the blue blurb. He’s stuck in this warrior/honor mentality that foils off with Sonic’s laid-back attitude. It’s a testament to how Idris Elba can take any role serious and commit to it; whether it’s The Wire, CATS, or Pacific Rim, you see the dedication he gives. Another new face that surprised me was Shemar Moore. I laughed when I first saw him, thinking “oh, hey! Morgan from Criminal Minds is here!” But he really puts the work in; without spoiling anything, he has a brief but brilliant arc.
Another similarity that this film has with its predecessor is how smart the translation between pixels to picture are. The Chaos Emeralds and Super Sonic fit perfectly in the story and compliments the previous film. And the mid-credits scene builds up with this cinematic world and follows the model perfectly; story first, sequel-baiting second.
We really are seeing a change in how video game movies are made and perceived. Gone are the cash-grab attempts; now we have movies that are made with genuine love for their franchises. From the cast to the adaptation of the source material, this takes what the last movie did well and adds more to it. Fans of the game will love it and outsiders will enjoy it without risk of alienation.