Sonic 1 was the last mainstream movie I saw before the pandemic. Now here we are seeing the sequel as the pandemic (hopefully) winds down and is replaced in the headlines by mini-World War 3.
Product. Another product. That’s what this is. It doesn’t pretend to be anything else. That’s why it works. Being a pure cinematic Product is not always a bad thing. If the product does what it’s advertised to do, it’s good. Kids will love this. Fun, fun, fun. It doesn’t take itself too seriously, while still honoring its source material. There are easter eggs everywhere. Viral hits make up the soundtrack. Sonic stops a bank heist to RunDMC’s Tiktok trend Tricky, Robotnik fires up a robot to Pantera’s Walk, Sonic and Tails have a dance off to Uptown Funk. There are quips out the ass, and a lot of them are actually pretty funny. This was written by grown children for actual children. Emotions switch on/off from scene to scene as needed, the plot is generally coherent (quest for a diamond, villain gets it, villain defeated). The ride functions as it should, and when it’s over you forget about it.
Carey doesn’t play Dr. Robotnik, he plays Jim Carrey in a Sonic movie meta commenting on everything like a diagetic MST3K. Occasionally he overdoes it. Idris Elba has a ball with his role as only he can. Ben Schwartz IS Sonic now, the bastard, and Tails’ original video game voice Colleen O’Shaughnessy is here. James Marsden and Tika Sumpter start off as the grounding parental unit but by the second act they’re the definition of tacked on. Once the major action starts, there are a few shots of them that are very clearly, “Oh, shit we have to remind people the parent characters are still here.” Some other supporting humans characters are barely worth mentioning here, serving the purpose of goofy, harmless uncles and such. Everything does its part and nothing else. Everyone is playing, everyone is enjoying themselves, everyone knows exactly what this is and doesn’t mind it.
There are no real arcs, just partying and PG action. CGI everything. The pseudo-legend of Sonic video game lore is touched on, but I still didn’t understand any of it by the end. It’s a Big Mac of a movie. Lots of fun, lots of heart, very little substance. Who cares, that’s not why we bought a ticket.
It’s a little long. There’s a bride and groom secret agent plotline that could’ve been trimmed significantly. But like I said, this isn’t art. It’s commerce. It’s so 8 year olds can discuss it seriously on the playground and get into legitimate, heated arguments over whether Knuckles is technically more powerful than Sonic as long as Sonic is in his normal blue form.
Overall, a fun little blast of a movie, a product designed for kids that kids will surely love.