Coming to grips with the past is the centerpiece of Bleecker Street’s family drama Montana Story. Writing and directing duo Scott McGehee and David Siegel collaborate again for the film, which I must warn viewers is a slow-moving drama.
Sonic The Hedgehog 2 is a fun sequel
Director Jeff Fowler makes a return to the world of video games in Sonic the Hedgehog 2 from Paramount Pictures. After settling in Green Hills with Tom (James Marsden) and Maddie (Tika Sumpter), Sonic (Ben Schwartz) is eager to prove, he has what it takes to be a true hero. His test comes when Dr. Robotnik (Jim Carey) returns, this time with a new partner, Knuckles (Idris Elba), in search of an emerald that has the power to destroy civilizations. Sonic teams up with his own sidekick, Tails (Collen O’Shaughnessy), and together they embark on a globetrotting journey to find the emerald before it falls into the wrong hands.
Growing up as a video game fan outside of a Game Boy, I never had Nintendo products, as I was a Sega kid. Sonic the Hedgehog was a personal favorite growing up, so in 2020, when the big-screen adaptation arrived, my son and I saw it with anticipation. Sonic the Hedgehog broke the video game to film curse, to our surprise. After seeing the post-credit scene in the first film, which teased the character of Tails, we both looked forward to a sequel.
Sonic the Hedgehog 2 picks up sometime after the first film, which I felt worked for the narrative structure that returning writers Pat Casey & Josh Miller, and new addition John Whittington want to take the movie. This writing style mainly works for Dr. Robotnik’s arc and how he encounters Knuckles. In addition, Wade Whipple (Adam Palley), the deputy sheriff of Green Hills and Tom’s friend, and Rachel (Natasha Rothwell), Maddie’s older sister who dislikes Tom, also return for the sequel and have arcs that feature in the film’s central plot nicely.
Ben Schwartz is still in fine form as Sonic regarding the voice acting, delivering effective one-liners. New cast members Idris Elba and Collen O’Shaughnessy also provide solid voice work and have great chemistry with Schwartz. Both Elba and O’Shaughnessy are not new to voice work, with the latter having voiced the character of Tails in the Sonic video game franchise while Elba did voice work in Zootopia and The Jungle Book.
The human cast does what they can with the material. No one has any standout moments outside of Jim Carey and Natasha Rothwell. Carey is having a blast hamming it up as our big bad. While Insecure’s Natasha Insecure actress steals nearly every scene, she is in and has terrific moments with Shemar Moore. I would love to see Rothwell’s character take center stage if we get a third film.
For the most part, Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is harmless family entertainment with a few expectations. I did find the film to run overlong, a problem that could have found resolution in the editing. Furthermore, while Tom and Maddie figure more into Rachel’s arc, they should have had more to do, particularly with the screen presence that both James Marsden and Tika Sumpter possess.
Nevertheless, Sonic the Hedgehog 2 avoids the typical sequel pitfalls and continues to expand on Sonic’s cinematic universe.
Final Grade: B
Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is in theaters now
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