Sonic the Hedgehog 2 Movie Review Report Card (Making the Grade) | Fanboys Anonymous

Sonic the Hedgehog 2 Movie Review Report Card (Making the Grade)

Posted by Anthony Mango Friday, April 8, 2022

Welcome to the latest edition of Making the Grade—a review format segment here on Fanboys Anonymous where we break down the major components of something and give it a score based on the standard report card lineup: A, B, C, D, and F for a total failure.

The next report card is for Sonic the Hedgehog 2. Is it as good of a video game film as the first one, or does it fail to match its predecessor?

HD Sonic the Hedgehog 2 photos screen shots poster

Sonic the Hedgehog 2

Directed by Jeff Fowler

Written by Pat Casey (screenplay and story), Josh Miller (screenplay and story), and John Whittington (screenplay)

Starring Ben Schwartz (Sonic), Jim Carrey (Dr. Robotnik), James Marsden (Tom Wachowski), Tika Sumpter (Maddie Wachowski), Natasha Rothwell (Rachel), Adam Pally (Wade Whipple), Shemar Moore (Randall), Lee Majdoub (Stone), Colleen O'Shaughnessey (Miles "Tails" Prower) and Idris Elba (Knuckles)

Synopsis: 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, in search of a mystical emerald that has the power to destroy civilizations. Sonic teams up with his own sidekick, Tails, and together they embark on a globe-trotting journey to find the emerald before it falls into the wrong hands.




Picking up from the last film, this movie jumps straight into "How is Robotnik coming back to Earth?" He manages to get out of the mushroom planet with some help from Knuckles, who is searching for Sonic for reasons that, naturally, get explored as the film progresses. Long story short, the Echidna tribe that was hunting Sonic and Longclaw in the first film was doing so to obtain the Master Emerald. Longclaw was part of a group of owls feuding with the tribe Knuckles belongs to and has hidden it on Earth, which is why she suggested Sonic go there, so he could take on the burden of protecting it. Knuckles also thinks it is his destiny and responsibility to obtain it. Meanwhile, Robotnik is just looking for the power itself and revenge on Sonic, who is struggling with a sense of responsibility in a different right, wanting to be a vigilante ("Blue Justice") and needs to learn how to be a true hero, rather than just use his powers for kicks. Oh, and Tails is there to...well, cause it's Sonic 2 and you need Tails, so he just popped up, mostly. He's the second-weakest part of the film, with the worst being the side plot about Rachel's setup for a wedding to Randall—a government agent tasked to infiltrate the family to see what's going on with the Wachowskis and Sonic.

For the most part, I think this is rock solid. My only suggestions would have been to trim the entire bar sequence and dance number, as that just slowed the pacing down to a halt and achieved nothing that the Sonic/Tails relationship couldn't have accomplished elsewhere, and to outright nix the wedding subplot. I know that was likely cooked up in part to excuse why Tom and Maddie aren't going on the journey with Sonic from the start and to quite literally give Rachel "something to do", but nobody is going to this movie for that plot. In fact, in the theater I was watching it, someone outright booed one of the scenes.

It's a logical progression to go for the Knuckles story and to, as Tom says it, give Sonic some friends he can identify with to round out this family. Since the first movie did the heavy lifting for a lot of the character-work, this one could simply hit the ground running. Overall, I enjoyed this story even more than the first.

And like everything that is mentioned here, keep in mind that this is not some Oscar-caliber film, but that's okay. A movie doesn't have to be in The Criterion Collection to still be a fun flick, especially when it's primarily for kids and fans of the franchise to just shut off their brains and have a good time. 


All the previous characters return in the same form as before. If you liked them the first time, you'll like them here. I do think Rachel's character was funnier the first time around, as she was written in a way most sequels suffer, wherein they amped up her "cooky factor" and went overboard, though.

Knuckles was a treat. Writing him as a super serious character to the point where he's almost dim from narrow-mindedness (lines like wondering what a baseball did to become his enemy and why he should hit it when they're just playing a game, for instance), was a lot of fun. His lines were easily my favorite of the movie.

Tails, unfortunately, was not. "Only Sonic the Hedgehog could (insert something normal)" Yeesh. I've always liked the Tails character in theory, but he definitely falls into the annoying kid sidekick trope in that practically everything he says or does comes off either too hokey or, well, childish. But hey, I'm in my 30s and this is a kids film, so maybe kids identify with him. He's supposed to be the younger brother archetype in a sense, who hero-worships Sonic, which is translated, but I just found the actual dialogue to be a little spotty.

As stated, the subplot of the wedding was a low point. Shemar Moore is great in a lot of things, but his whole "Actually, I might have fallen in love with Rachel on this assignment" trope was so eye-rolling Hallmark-esque bad. He served really no purpose and a tighter movie without that would have been better. I have some suggestions I'll get to later of how I would have potentially fixed this, with the benefit of hindsight.


ACTION: Solid action. Better than the first film, for sure.

DRAMA: The melodrama is still there, with lines coming across a bit too "after school special" in some ways, but for kids, it works.

COMEDY: This definitely isn't a movie that would make everyone laugh, and some jokes just fell entirely flat as they were purely "Hey, that's the thing!" type references, or just a little too juvenile for my tastes, but I did chuckle here and there.

ROMANCE: Nix the wedding angle, entirely. Other than that, there is no romance, but that's not what this film is going for, so that would have been okay to cut that and have zero romance angles.



Everyone is hamming it up. Some dialogue comes off stiff because of how Lifetime the melodrama can be. But everyone works to get the point across and Jim Carrey is the show-stealer once again.

Part of me thinks Jason Momoa, the original choice for Knuckles, would have been better. We'll see if he voices Shadow and if it doesn't sound like Idris Elba would have been better for that as a reversal.


Overall, the visuals are better this time than before, but there is still a bit of a disconnect for me with Sonic blending into the real world. Whenever he's interacting with something and they've made a CGI photo-realistic version of it (like the underwear in the first one), you can just tell something looks a little off.


So many missed opportunities. Tom Holkenborg has done some great stuff, but I would have loved to hear orchestral blends of previous tracks in the environments inspired by levels from the games. How is Sonic snowboarding and we're not hearing a symphony belt out Ice Cap Zone?!



References are key here. We get Super Sonic, the Chaos Emeralds, the little hologram of Sonic makes the annoyed waiting animation, "Mean Bean" is the coffee shop as a reference to Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine, Sonic drinking the air bubble under water, the red airplane, and so on. Those are the moments that made the dedicated fans pop with joy, and that's what this was all about.


One thing that was missing from the film that I feel should have been in it is Casino Night Zone. Why not have Tom and Maddie go to Las Vegas, rather than Hawaii, and you could tie that into there? It's not as if that doesn't have famous architecture that would be interesting to see characters zip around. Maybe say that they "won" an all-expenses paid trip there, if you want to get them out of the film, and have it turn out the government set that up to try to spy on Sonic without their involvement. Hell, you could even still play into the idea of a government agent trying to work his way into learning something with the family by having him pose as a random person who bumps into Rachel and works his magic with her, and they have an impromptu Vegas wedding, if you want the gag with the rings. Just a thought.

No love for Marble Zone? Disappointing.

I've always been fond of Nack the Weasel (aka Fang the Sniper...not sure why he has two names, when they could have just called him Fang the Weasel if they didn't want "Sniper" to be part of it). Maybe he can pop up in #3?

I think they missed an opportunity to have a robotic Sonic created by Robotnik. Have it start off all silver and then look more like the Mecha/Metal versions that are more blue and such.

Shadow isn't a character I'm all that interested in. The same goes for Silver. That's all from a generation that is beyond me. I'm less excited about the third film than the second, but I'll still be seeing it.

By the way...what is up with those hunters? We didn't get any explanation for them that I missed, right? Weird. Maybe that should have tied more into the animated show's robots, instead.


GRADE: B+ (Pass)

You know what you're getting into with this movie. If you liked the first film, I can't imagine you're going to dislike this one. To be honest, I liked this one better, in a lot of ways. I highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in checking it out, as it is one of the best video game films out there. It's not going to win any Oscars, but that's okay; especially when you think about the last Academy Award winning movie that you truly wanted to watch a second time.




Tony Mango is the founder, editor-in-chief, head writer and podcast host of Fanboys Anonymous as well as all other A Mango Tree branches including Smark Out Moment. He is a pundit, creative director/consultant, fiction writer and more. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.