Sonic the Hedgehog Shows No Signs of Slowing Down in the Sequel

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SONIC THE HEDGEHOG 2

CCT, 99 minutes. In theaters March 31

Sonic (Ben Schwartz) and James Marsden in Sonic the Hedgehog 2.Credit:Courtesy of Paramount Pictures and Sega of America.

Sonic the Hedgehog is an unlikely choice as the hero of a Hollywood animated franchise. Tiny with big eyes and an electric blue faux fur coat, he doesn’t look like any animal, plant or mineral.

Still, he’s headlining the second film in a series that’s shaping up for a prosperous future on the big and small screen. Sure, Sonic (voiced by Ben Schwartz) has help — notably from Jim Carrey as his nemesis, Dr. Ivo Robotnik, a statuesque maniac with aviator goggles and a mustache that looks like it was salvaged from a dead opossum. It’s almost as big as Sonic himself.

The franchise has been in the making for a long time, in part because movies adapted from video games have a checkered commercial history. Additionally, Sega, the creators of Sonic, along with its army of fans, have been very picky in setting the standards for its transfer to the big screen. An early design for the first film was rejected after a test screening for fanboys at Comic Con in 2018. But its eventual release was enthusiastically received at the box office, and a follow-up to that sequel is already in the works.

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It’s a mix of animation and live action. The human cast includes James Marsden and Tika Sumpter as Sonic’s self-appointed caretakers, Sheriff Tom Wachowski and his wife, Maddie, and the script strives to compensate for the adults who dutifully accompany their small charges by relying on many sarcasm and a pinch of sarcasm. Robotnik is particularly good at this.

Otherwise, it’s all color and movement as Sonic weaves his way through a plot involving a lot of convoluted interstellar magic that I wouldn’t go into even if I could. I’ll just say that the highlight features Robotnik’s latest creation, the monstrous Death Egg Robot.


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