Reviewed by: Alexander Malsan
Importance of courage and bravery
The true definition of a hero
Importance of family
Movies based on video games
Robots and robotic drones
Ben Schwartz … Sonic the Hedgehog (voice)
Jim Carrey … Dr. Ivo “Eggman” Robotnik
Idris Elba … Knuckles the Echidna (voice)
Collen O'Shanussy (Colleen O'Shaughnessey) … Miles “Tails” Prower (voice)
James Marsden … Tom Wachowski
Tika Sumpter … Maddie Wachowski
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Sega Sammy Group [Japan]
Marza Animation Planet [Japan]
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|Distributor||Paramount Pictures Corporation|
Prequel: “Sonic the Hedgehog” (2020)
Ever since Sonic defeated Dr. Robotnik and banished him to the Mushroom Planet things have been relatively quiet in Green Hills. So, Sonic has been sneaking out at night as his alias, “The Blue Justice,” fighting crime in Seattle to prove to his friend/guardian Tom (James Marsden) that he is grown up and responsible and ready to take on new challenges. However, Tom believes Sonic still has some growing up to do before then. Well, when opportunity presents itself…
Meanwhile, on the Mushroom Planet, Dr Robtonik has been living in solitude for almost an entire year, plotting his revenge and trying to find a way to return to Earth. When he is finally able to open a portal, however, a mysterious creature, an echidna named Knuckles (Idris Elba) appears. Knuckles notices a blue quill in Robotnik’s hand. “Where did you get that?” he exclaims. “I’ll tell you, but only if you help me return to Earth,” Robotnik retorts.
Fast-forward a couple days. Sonic is left in charge of the house for the first time ever, when Robotnik appears, alongside Knuckles. Knuckles attacks Sonic demanding to know the whereabouts of the Master Emerald, a jewel that can turn thoughts into reality. Sonic states he has no knowledge of the Emerald. As Knuckles is trying to beat the information out of Sonic, a creature from another dimension, named Tails (Collen O'Shanussy) rescues him.
Sonic and his new friend Tails must race to protect the Emerald, lest untold evil unfold upon the good citizens of Earth and the whole galaxy itself.
Rare is the day where I can write a movie review and state that a sequel actually improves upon its predecessor. More often than not it seems these days, Hollywood filmmakers are firing out sequels to simply cash-in on the fanbase as quickly as they can before the fanbase loses interest and moves on to something else.
I say all this because this is the question that lingers in my mind at this very moment. It’s only been two years since the first film came out. That’s rather quick in my opinion. The excitement, the ingenuity and intrigue I felt walking out of the first film were missing this time around.
Don’t get me wrong, all the technical aspects from the first film made their way into the second. The CGI is still as strong as the first film. The action is still relatively strong (and frequent, which I’ll mention later). However, the performances by a few of the lead roles, particularly by Jim Carrey, felt restrained and even lackluster, as many other critics have pointed out (yes, Jim Carrey was a bit crass in the first film, but this time he was barely humorous at all). James Marsden also has a much smaller role this time around, which is sad, as the chemistry between him and Ben Schwartz (who plays Sonic) was by far a comedic gold mine in the first film. I commend Idris Elba’s performance as the voice of Knuckles.
To the film’s credit, though, what “Sonic the Hedgehog 2” has more in abundance than the previous film is strong, wholesome themes that can be shared with the entire family: themes regarding courage, family, bravery, and the true definition of a hero. In the first film, we received only small doses of these messages, if any. In the second film however, I feel that some of the main characters receive these messages loud and clear.
VIOLENCE: Heavy (but in a cartoonish-like manner mostly). A character is blown away by an electric shock. We see some extraterrestrials get knocked out. We witness a police chase with an armored vehicle down a busy city street. We witness a few fist fights between Knuckles and Sonic. A character is hit by a car. Two characters’ hands break from a strong handshake. We see a dead fish’s head cut off. Two characters are almost thrown into a fire. There is a chase down a mountain. A character is shot by a missile and knocked unconscious for a long period. A large amount of snow knocks people over. Other characters are knocked out. Someone makes a threat about squeezing the life out of someone for lying to them. Someone is tasered. Characters are seen having to dodge a ton of obstacles (spears, boulders, etc.). Two characters pass out underwater. There is an extended action sequence with a robot. There is a car crash.
PROFANITY: “My G*d” (3), “Oh my G*d” (4), “G*d,” “Snow My G*d,” “Oh Lord,” “H*ll,” “H*ll hath no fury”
VULGARITY: “A**-hole,” “Piece of shitaki,” “Holy sherbet,” “Scr*wed,” “Son of a…” (cut off), “groin” (3). Someone tells someone their breath smells like goat poo.
SEX: A character asks about the identity of someone “who waxed her—” (without finishing the sentence, but the rest of the sentence is implied). Two characters kiss.
NUDITY: Male characters are seen shirtless during a volleyball match. Sonic mentions to someone that they should get sunbathed in someplace “embarrassing.”
ALCOHOL: One scene takes place at a bar. A couple characters are seen drinking at a wedding.
OTHER: Sonic lies, sneaks out and causes major property damage to a city just to prove he can be a hero. He also is seen, in one scene, partying at the house while left in charge, making a large mess in the process. There is also a brief somewhat frightening scene during Dr. Robotnik’s initial return to Sonic’s house that may scare younger children. The pop song “Uptown Funk” is played, but the dirtiest portions are cut out. A character says a blade almost “cut his… mustache…”
I believe the greatest lesson to draw from “Sonic the Hedgehog 2” is the theme of what it truly means to be a hero.
Real heros, as we know, don’t wear a cape, or spandex, or even a symbol. Heroes come in many shapes and sizes. Some serve in the military. Some serve as frontline workers. Some serve as volunteers. Whatever role a hero takes, it is one of the greatest honors a Christian is called to. A hero is called to serve and do what is right in God’s eyes. The Bible has many heroes and is clear about what is means to be a hero.
Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. —John 15:13
We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. —Romans 15:1-2
In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive’.” —Acts 20:35
“Sonic the Hedgehog 2” may not be the strongest of the two films, but it certainly isn’t a boring film either. As I said the cinematic quality is still relatively as strong as the first (apart from a few elements). Still, I can’t help but wonder if the crass language that was added in this film (that wasn’t in the first film) could have been taken out and replaced with wittier dialog and humor instead, or more comedic moments for Carrey, or more screen time for Marsden. I walked away hoping with just one word on my mind exiting the theater and that was the word “want.” I WANTED more.
Keeping this in mind, as a reviewer and certainly as a Christian, I’m not personally recommending this film. If you do decide to take the young ones, please keep in mind the content I have listed, particularly the language and the violence that is included. Overall, as a teacher myself, grading-wise, I’d give the film’s entertainment value a B-.