Sonic The Hedgehog 2 (2022) Review


Aiden DeMonte, Staff Writer

After settling in Green Hills, Sonic is eager to prove that he has what it takes to be a true hero. His test comes when Dr. Robotnik returns with a new partner, Knuckles The Echidna, in search of the mystical Master Emerald that has the power to build and destroy civilizations. Sonic teams up with his own sidekick, Miles “Tails” Prower, and together they embark on a globe-trotting journey to find the emerald before it falls into the wrong hands.

Video game movies have a long standing history of being bad. Many have disappointed both fans of the source material and the general movie-going audience. So back in 2019, when the trailer for “Sonic The Hedgehog” (2020) dropped, nearly everyone agreed that it would end up being another failure. Based on a series that has released both polarizing and awfully-received games, it featured a Sonic that looked more human than hedgehog, and cringe worthy jokes set to the hit 1995 song “Gangsta’s Paradise” by Coolio. The backlash to this trailer was so immense that the film got delayed 3 months and Sonic got entirely redesigned. When the movie was released, it became the 3rd highest grossing movie of the year and got generally positive reviews from fans of the series. Against all odds, the movie was a hit, one of the few good video game movies. A sequel was green-lit, and promised to include more aspects of the game, with the arrival of Tails, Knuckles, the Master Emerald, and a plot reminiscent of Sonic 3 & Knuckles. And now it’s here. Does it live up to the hype?

The movie opens up immediately after the original, opening on the mushroom planet and right out of the gate showcasing its best element: Jim Carrey as Dr. Eggman. He brings a manic energy no one else achieves, and is able to consistently bring the most laughs of anyone else in the movie. He stars in a movie of alien echidnas and foxes and yet he steals the attention in the room every time. That is not to downplay the other characters or actors however. Ben Schwartz stars as Sonic and he’s great in the role. He brings a youthful energy to the role that other Sonic actors in the past haven’t really explored. Idris Elba plays Knuckles here, he’s introduced in a villainous light as he’s helping Dr. Eggman to find the Master Emerald. Idris’ deep voice really brings the character to life, he’s able to portray both the serious, honorable side and the naivety too. Colleen O’Shaughnessey plays Tails, and she has been voicing the character in different media since 2014. She is practically perfect in the role, and while Tails himself isn’t given much to do in this movie sadly, it is incredible to see a voice actor headline a $90 million blockbuster. The humans are all good here, James Marsden and Tika Sumpter have good chemistry and a very cute family dynamic with Sonic. Natasha Rothwell plays Rachel, aka Maddie’s sister who has maybe the best scene in the original film. She’s a scene-stealer here too, she hits a line of going almost too over the top, but never quite passes it. Shemar Moore is a new character named Randall, and his arc didn’t go at all the way I expected, which was refreshing to see. Lee Majdoub is Agent Stone, the most underrated actor in both of these movies. And finally, Adam Pally returns as Wade with Tom Butler as the Olive Garden Loving Commander Walters to both get a few laughs. A very solid cast, especially for what seems like a move that will instantly fail the movie. The idea of having all these humans here is, on paper, a bad one as nearly everyone who comes to a Sonic movie wants to see Sonic purely in his world. It would be a lie to say that the human subplot was as engaging as the quest for the Master Emerald, but it would also be a lie to say it wasn’t fun to see these characters in the movie either. 

The main plot of the movie is quite simple, a trip around the world from one big set piece to the other. The movie is 2 hours long and I never even noticed it once, in fact before I started researching for this review I thought the movie was only 105 minutes long. The movie has a cute little set up as we see Sonic just having fun as a kid, but when Knuckles and Eggman first face off against Sonic, the movie is able to grasp onto a pretty consistent pace where we move onto one fun action scene to the next. It slows down a bit when the humans come back in around the 2nd act, but their plot regarding Rachel’s wedding is fine enough that it doesn’t harm the film deeply. After that, the movie immediately gets to one more standout fight scene, and then a climax that got me almost out of my seat with excitement. It’s not anything you won’t see coming, but if you grew up with Sonic like I did, then it’ll be a treat. You’ll notice I haven’t really mentioned any character arcs, and that’s because the movie is devoid of any standout ones. This is the first big issue. I have no grievances with a movie that is purely for entertainment, and when Sonic 2 is just that, it’s entertaining. The big character arc of the movie belongs to Knuckles. I don’t really consider this a spoiler if you know anything about Sonic lore, especially due to Knuckles being one of the most popular characters in the franchise, but he does not stay evil, and is in fact being manipulated by Eggman. This arc is handled quite well and is given the set-up, drama, and pay-off necessary to work. However, he is not the only one to be given a chance for change in the movie, as Sonic, Tails, Eggman, Tom, Agent Stone,  Rachel, and Randall all either have set-up for an arc that doesn’t happen (Tom), or their arc fizzles out (Tails), or the arc just isn’t that compelling (Rachel and Randall). For example: Sonic at the beginning of this movie is trying to act like a superhero and mentions that he is looking for the moment where he is needed. Eggman shows up and then he says out loud this is his moment. That’s it! That is all we get for our main character’s emotional journey. There is some stuff related to the idea of him being a hero by the end of the movie, but it comes directly from a massive spoiler, so even if I wanted to talk about it, I can’t. When the movie sticks to fast-paced jokes, the main 3’s chemistry, and a world tour adventure, it’s great. When it tries to get emotional, it’s good for a family movie at best. 

Another aspect of the movie that I have mixed feelings about is the visuals. The movie could borderline be an animated one, it uses CGI animation to create 3 main characters, multiple action scenes, and entire other planets. The character animation on Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles are really good, and I wasn’t able to notice any issues with them whatsoever. But background animations and green screen on the other hand was a big issue. There are certain sequences like ones regarding a temple or water which look good, but shots in the 3rd act, specifically when Eggman has to be surrounded by nothing by CGI, it is incredibly noticeable and took me out of the experience pretty hard. Thankfully, the actual shots and cinematography is decent. When it comes to the human or talking scenes, it’s mostly very basic, but scenes where characters are going fast and exchanging blows are quite dynamic and interesting, there is some very memorable imagery regarding a scene with a temple and the third act big bad too, the director Jeff Fowler really is able to use scale to his advantage and effectively communicate these world-ending events or alien areas. 

There’s a few random other things I would like to mention here. The sound is exactly how it should be, the score is completely serviceable, and the pop music soundtrack was surprisingly okay. I would’ve preferred less of it, or at least some lesser known songs, but what they picked isn’t intrusive and fits each scene. I would also like to point out that the movie feels like a movie that’s not afraid to be a video game movie. For a movie like this, it’s easy to lose the plot completely and do your own thing and it’s also easy to overload the movie with so much fan service you destroy any plot. The movie is inspired by famous games, but it still goes in its own direction. It has fan service and Easter eggs, but it’s not to the detriment of the story. It’s quite rare to see a video game movie that is not ashamed of its own legacy, but goes down its own path. The humor in the movie hits for the most part. I’d say that the joke success rate is around 70%-80%, and the volume of jokes in this movie is very dense. If there’s one line that doesn’t work, 2 or 3 others that do are thrown out a minute later. The movie’s humor falls flat when it feels like it’s being limited by its family film status. Now I’m not suggesting there needs to be edgy, offensive jokes in this Sonic The Hedgehog movie, but Sonic has a massive fan base of teens and adults, so when I hear so many jokes targeted primarily to younger kids, it feels a little alienating. But overall, very funny movie. The next section will be about spoilers. If you haven’t seen the movie, scroll past it for the final rating. 


First off, when Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles all team up, and the camera does a long shot of them fighting together and performing combo attacks, I lost it. It felt like my childhood being directly catered to on screen, even down to Jim Carrey who I used to love too. While the inclusion of G.U.N. was certainly only to set up future movies and shows, and you could easily cut them out of the movie. However, I’m still glad they’re here, because they lead directly to something very exciting, The post-credit scene features Shadow The Hedgehog who I am very excited to see show up. Shadow rocks. He is awesome. He is cool. He has a gun. Now that we’ve set up the main 3, and we have both GUN and Shadow here, I am quite excited for movie 3. The Super Sonic reveal was incredibly predictable and also incredibly hype. I was screaming. I thought while the human subplot was mostly predictable, I was quite impressed by the plot twist of it being a set-up by GUN to steal Sonic. The scene afterwards was quite fun too, seeing the two sisters go on a rampage was very charming, and I love their increased screen time here. I love the fact that Agent Stone works at the Mean Bean coffee shop, that is hilarious. I feel like, while the ending baseball scene was very fun and a nice callback to the first movie, Knuckles feels a lot more stereotypically dumb here, I hope he won’t lose the warrior-like aspects of his personality in the 3rd movie or his upcoming show. 




Sonic The Hedgehog 2 is a lot of fun. It’s an adventure movie featuring great chemistry between its characters, lots of fan service, snappy dialogue, and another standout Jim Carrey performance. Its visuals and plot can be inconsistent at times, but going into this movie, you get an experience that comforts you and lets you escape for 2 hours. 7/10.