Once again, the Blue Speedster arrives to the big screen for his second official cinematic release! I recall watching the original Sonic Movie and being genuinely impressed at how they managed to produce an actually watch-able videogame movie, especially considering how disastrous some attempts have been (Mortal Kombat, Mario, etcetera). Thankfully, it seems Director Jeff Fowler and his crew have fully understood the essence of what it means to create a genuinely engaging film. Whilst this movie, just as its predecessor, is geared primarily towards children, it still remains a fun watch for all ages. Despite my utter lack of knowledge on the Sonic lore or videogames (growing up, I was more a Mario child), I could tell they managed to nail SEGA's mascot character and do justice to the childhood memories of millions across the world. Ben Schwartz's Sonic character is funny, engaging, and cracking the standard jokes of a movie tailored towards a younger demographic. Tails, played by Colleen O'Shaughnes, is an adorable fox who becomes something of a little brother figure, and of course we have Knuckles, played by the legendary Idris Elba. Frankly, for being one of Elba's more cartoonish and ridiculous roles, the actor kills it here, able to pull off a convincing image of a socially awkward warrior who seeks to avenge his people and complete his destiny, while still making the character likeable and approachable enough for the audience to believe his redemption arc near the movie's climax. But surely, we cannot mention this movie without citing the legendary and amazing performance of Jim Carrey as Doctor Ivan Robotnik, aka the villainous Eggman. So, how exactly does the second Sonic Movie pair up to its original? Let's discuss!
Firstly, the movie's plot is rather predictable, yet still provides an engaging entertainment. Sonic has become something of a bonafide superhero in his hometown of Green Hills, though is very clearly still learning the ropes of his self-made occupation and fumbles quite often, evidenced by the movie's prologue in which he arguably does more harm than good during a bank robbery. Subsequently, the Hedgehog's idyllic life, spurned even better by his parents Tom and Michelle going on vacation to Hawaii (involving a subplot that I'd regard as the movie's weakest link), is interrupted by the return of Doctor Eggman and his ruthless new ally Knuckles. Knuckles seems to carry a vendetta against Sonic and seeks to acquire the Master Emerald to bring honor to his tribal ancestors, whom died attempting to seize it from Sonic's adoptive tribe of Owl-people. Let's get one thing straight: Eggman was the best part of this movie. Jim Carrey portrays the role of a hyped-up maniacal scientist seeking world domination (and probably a very repressed desire of social companionship which Eggman attempts to substitute with aforementioned world domination designs) extremely well. Even during arguably the cringiest scene of the movie (Eggman flosses in front of Knuckles), he plays it with such maddening grace that you can't help but laugh. His incredibly shady persona displayed throughout the movie, one which Knuckles is seemingly oblivious towards as they make their way towards the Master Emerald, makes way for some impressive moments of over-acting, Carrey's specialty.
Speaking of Eggman, his loyal henchman and best friend Stone, played by the talented Lee Majdoub, returns again to back his oppressive overlord's efforts in conquering the known universe and destroying the meddling Sonic. I'll be totally honest, I feel Stone has some level of romantic feelings for the Doctor. The movie isn't exactly subtle in displaying this either, overt symbolism of Stone's feelings popping out at every metric, whether it be his array of different outfits designed for Eggman's purposes (including a rather suspect maid dress) to his elegant coffee designs, that most certainly display some level of adoration for his boss that many would consider above and beyond that of a normal evil henchman. Nevertheless, this aspect doesn't steal from the movie whatsoever and simply adds another funny gag to be played at, though I'm interested to see whether or not they'll play on this quirk further in the series or simply keep it relegated to hints here and there.
Speaking of the human cast, I mentioned earlier that the human wedding sideplot was the movie's weakest link. While I certainly stand by that sentiment, as do likely many viewers of this movie, it isn't so egregious as to take away from the main story. Rather, the movie ultimately meshes these two plotlines together and even introduces another element of the Sonic Universe in the process (that being the secretive paramilitary organization G.U.N) There isn't an overabundant amount of time focused on this wedding arc either, and aside from one needlessly long sequence of Randall and Rachel reconciling their differences after an unhinged series of events nearly destroys their wedding, the movie regains its course almost immediately and takes us back to the action.
Another charming pillar would certainly be Sonic and Tails' friendship. Tails comes across as a fish out of water, being a longtime viewer of Sonic's antics as he saves the world and finding solace in the heroism, bravery, and confidence the Blue Hedgehog exudes of which Tails himself seemingly lacks. So when the fearsome Knuckles arrives, the twin-tailed fox finally witnesses an opportunity to assist his hero, he takes it with stride. Knuckles also is a welcome addition into the cast, adding a more serious flavor to our anthropomorphic characters that we've yet to see. His backstory is also surprisingly tragic for a kid's movie, given that his entire family lineage has struggled to regain an ancient power founded by his ancestors that would allow them to conquer the universe. However, after being betrayed by Eggman after falsely mistaking him for a genuine friend, Knuckles sees the merit in allowing past bygones remain bygones, and becomes a crucial member of the Sonic Crew.
Overall, Sonic Secundus adds another strong addition into this child-friendly series bringing SEGA's star mascot character into the cinematic limelight. Despite a few hiccups in terms of a mediocre sideplot, the movie manages to retain the same videogame adventure feel (alongside including a pretty awesome danceoff sequence in Siberia no less!). If you enjoyed the first installation, you'll definitely have fun with the second. It knows what it is, and delivers on that excellently. Nine point five Chaos Emeralds out of Ten!