‘Sonic 2’ races into theaters, struggles to keep pace throughout bloated runtime 

Darren Puccala, Life & Arts Reporter

After the moderate success of the first “Sonic the Hedgehog” film, Sonic races back to the big screen with a sequel committed to Sonic’s rapid-fire quips and expanding the original character ensemble.

Sonic’s desire to cement himself as the hero in his world mimics Paramount Pictures’ hopes that audiences can cling to the iconic hedgehog. While “Sonic the Hedgehog 2” shows an understanding of the pre-existing characters, their devotion to the original characters introduced in the first and second films brings the lightning-fast movie to a dreadfully slow pace. 

Veteran comedy actor Jim Carrey leads a returning cast of Ben Schwartz (Sonic) and James Marsden (Tom Wachowski). Carrey delivered a very on-brand performance as Dr. Robotnick, the recurring antagonist of “Sonic.” His line delivery and physical comedy perfectly lean into the over-the-top cartoonish villain of this universe. 

Animated and loud, Schwartz hit the notes needed for this role as the snarky speedster. However, the writing for Sonic at times relies too much on redundant and generic pop culture jokes, making it feel borderline insufferable. When Sonic becomes more serious, Schwartz effectively mixes in the emotional weight of this character with quick-witted humor that feels natural and brings more depth to Sonic.

“Sonic’s” new additions, such as characters Tails and Knuckles, are an unexpected positive aspect of the movie. Bringing in long-time voice actor Colleen O’Shaughnessey to reprise her role as Tails, Sonic’s naive and cheerful sidekick, it’s clear how dedicated the studio was to appeasing true “Sonic” fans. Idris Elba’s rendition of Knuckles, the misguided antagonist, offers a necessarily subtle and dry performance which perfectly offsets Carrey and Shwartz’s dramatized characters. The writing for Knuckles feels exceptional in comparison to others in the movie, with very little out of character lines, and most, if not all, of his comedy lands well. 

The biggest problem comes in the newly created characters who serve no real purpose but to bring the plot to a screeching halt. The main plot frequently gets interrupted by an almost irrelevant side plot, but when the two do eventually collide in the second half of the movie, the payoff fails to have any lasting impact. These scenes feel poorly written, badly acted and ineffectively paced, seriously hurting the enjoyability of the film.

Despite the unignorable faults within this movie, the core of “Sonic” remains strong in most aspects, and the moments that invest in the main characters deliver a fun viewing experience audiences can enjoy. 

3 gold rings out of 5