Sonic sequel takes another ring, worth watching

Katie Keller, Opinion Editor

“Pop quiz, hotshot. You just picked a fight with a poorly disguised hedgehog.”

Lovable video game hedgehog Sonic returned to the big screen April 8 in Sonic the Hedgehog 2, two years after the first Sonic the Hedgehog live-action film.

Jeff Fowler is back in the director’s chair, with Jim Carrey, James Marsden, Colleen O’Shaughnessey, Tika Sumpter and Ben Schwartz all reprising their roles from the first film. Idris Elba joins the voice cast for the sequel.

We last saw the speedy blue space hedgehog Sonic (voiced by Schwartz) settling down in Green Hills, Montana with Tom and Maddie Wachowski (Marsden and Sumpter respectively) after defeating Dr. Robotnik (Carrey). Now, the world is once again at Robotnik’s mercy as he returns to Earth with a new extraterrestrial to hunt down the Master Emerald and it’s up to Sonic and his admirer Tails (voiced by O’Shaughnessey) to foil Robotnik’s plans.

First things first: Jim Carrey. Dr. Robotnik, known as Eggman in the video game franchise, is the most over-the-top, comically overbearing and clinically insane villain in the history of the universe. Only Jim Carrey can play this clown. This is a character that’s so extreme, it really does require a delicate touch to portray it correctly–too much eccentricity and it’s not believable, but not enough and the character loses what makes them so special. Any other actor would have botched it. In this movie, Eggman also started to take on the look he had in the games, which consisted of a red overcoat, red goggles with cracked lenses and a bushy mustache reminiscent of the Lorax. I really can’t picture any other actor in this getup. 

One of the new characters from the video game introduced in this movie was Knuckles the Echidna (voiced by Elba), a character I’ve always found really interesting. In the games, Knuckles has always been somewhat of a frenemy to Sonic, only helping him when he’ll benefit from it. I thought it was a wise decision for Knuckles to share the role of antagonist with Eggman since having Eggman be the sole antagonist would feel like too much of a repeat of the first movie. Elba’s voice was perfectly suited for the character, since Knuckles has a certain ignorance to things that aren’t violence and his delivery was flawless. 

The message of the movie was particularly powerful for me. There were a few different messages in the plot, but there’s one I want to specify. Throughout the movie, Sonic struggles with the concept of growing up. He’s taking on all this responsibility as a vigilante superhero and forgetting that he still has the maturity of a 15-year-old. With the amount of exposure teenagers have nowadays, it’s easy to forget that there’s no rush to grow up.

I really found myself enjoying the characters more than the plot. Knuckles’ ignorance to things beyond combat, such as humor or fun, makes him extremely entertaining. Eggman is so unbearably over-the-top but in a lovable way while Sonic always has a witty remark for Eggman. The plot on the other hand was on the dull side. The Master Emerald, for those who haven’t played the video games, is basically SEGA’s version of the Infinity Stones–whoever wields the Master Emerald can turn their thoughts into reality. I liked the inclusion of more elements from the games but at the same time, the plot felt reused. 

It’s no wonder that Sonic has sped his way into the number one slot in the box office–there really weren’t any negatives for me. Whether you eat, sleep and breathe video games or have no experience with them, this is a movie worth watching.