The first Sonic film is most famous for the outrage online at the first leaks of Sonic’s teeth. Jim Carey delivered a throwback performance as Dr. Robotnik that fueled nostalgia to watch his early work like The Mask. The film must have done well enough at the box office because we got a sequel! Dr. Robotnik returns from the mushroom planet with the help of Knuckles the echidna, voiced by Idris Elba. Tails, the two-player character, also joins the cast to aid Sonic. Tails is voiced by Colleen O’Shaughnessey.
With more and more film studios having streaming services, films that once drew moderate theater crowds can now be watched at home for minimal cost. Large studios like Paramount are making much better straight-to-streaming films and bringing theatrical releases to their services faster. Sonic 2 is a solid film for streaming. It was developed for a target audience that enjoyed the first film and it did not try to be everything for everyone all at once like some recent Netflix films.
The film explores the well-trodden territory of talking to an enemy where neither side was involved in the inciting events. Here the Echidnas were at war with the owls, who raised and protected Sonic. Both sides share the lore they were raised on and find conflicting accounts but ultimately recognize that both sides lost on the same day. It is a solid message for younger audiences to avoid holding grudges, especially inherited ones. Could it be a thinly veiled code for racism? Sonic teaches all those around him to see the good in the world and others.
The film has multiple video-game elements sprinkled throughout to keep the crowd engaged. It is a challenge to bring video games to the big screen but, I feel it was executed well here. Mapping loop-the-loops into the human world is a challenge that was overcome. Couching Sonic as an adolescent was also a great move that allows his actions as well as his adoptive parent’s actions to feel realistic.
If you enjoyed the first Sonic film, you are in for a treat. If you have seen neither but, have access to streaming them, I do not think you will be disappointed if you have even the smallest nostalgia for Sonic or even early Mario games. Sega has set a new standard for video game-based films, we will have to wait and see what Chris Pratt does as Mario.