A star rating of 3 out of 5.

It feels like an awful long time ago now that the first trailer for the original Sonic the Hedgehog movie was released to much online ridicule. At that time, many punters predicted the film would be the latest in a long line of disappointing video game adaptations, a cringey imitation of a beloved character that would fail to inspire his devoted fanbase.


But a few months and a complete design overhaul later, and the film had defied those expectations to become a bonafide hit, opening to decent reviews and some very impressive box office results – the sixth highest-grossing film of the admittedly rather unusual 2020.

Now, two years later, the hyperactive blue hedgehog is back for another adventure – once again facing off against Jim Carrey's evil Doctor Robotnik, who arrives back in Green Hills after being saved from his exile on the mushroom planet.

The cast is further bolstered this time by two high-profile new additions who will be extremely familiar to fans of the games – Tails, a flying fox who greatly admires Sonic and soon strikes up a friendship with him, and Knuckles, a super-strong echidna who forms an alliance with Robotnik in a bid to find the Master Emerald, which will allow the pair dominion over the whole planet.

As in the first entry, these familiar faces are joined by some human characters created specifically for the films – with James Marsden and Tika Sumpter returning as married couple Tom and Maddie Wachowski, who have welcomed Sonic into their Green Hills home and often find themselves despairing at the chaos he seems to sow wherever he goes.

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Parks and Recreation star Ben Schwartz is back to voice the title character, and he gives another perky vocal performance in the role, full of warmth and humour, while Colleen O'Shaughnessey makes a successful transition from video games to film as Tails, a role she's played since 2014.

Idris Elba, meanwhile, seems to be having a lot of fun as the rather dim-witted Knuckles, and his excellent line deliveries provide the film with much of its comic relief – as the echidna repeatedly struggles to master fairly basic concepts (a scene which sees him reading responses on a messaging app proved especially popular in my screening, as did his attempt to get to grips with the rules of baseball).

And Jim Carrey, of course, is reliably entertaining as Robotnik – playing him with the same cartoonish gusto that has long been his trademark.

It should come as no surprise that the demographic likely to get the most out of this film are younger children – there are plenty of bright colours and amusing visual gags throughout, and it has an exciting, fast-paced tone to it which should keep kids firmly entertained, especially during the explosive action sequences.

But there's also plenty for long-time Sonic fans to get their teeth into as well – beyond the appearances of Tails and Knuckles, many plot points are lifted directly from the games, including the appearance of the Death Egg Robot in the climactic battle. Meanwhile, there are plenty of pop culture references for the benefit of adults, such as a brief nod to The Rock and Vin Diesel.

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As with the first entry in the franchise, it's not a film without its problems. 20 minutes could easily have been shaved off the runtime, and at times it feels like the segments involving the human characters don't blend as seamlessly with the other parts as they should do – while some of the CGI is occasionally a bit wobbly.

But for a children's film – or indeed for a video game adaptation – you could easily do a lot worse, and this seems destined to be another major success.

An end credits scene, meanwhile, nicely sets up the already-confirmed third instalment – so it seems this franchise is just getting started.

Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is released in cinemas on 1st April 2022. If you’re looking for something to watch, check out our TV Guide or check out our Movies hub for all the latest news and features.


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