The first Sonic the Hedgehog film was a surprise breakout hit early in 2020, even though Ars Tech Culture Editor Sam Mackovech deemed it mediocre. It was “somewhere above The Angry Birds Movie, somewhere below Pokemon: Detective Pikachu,” he wrote.
And now we have the final trailer for its sequel, Sonic the Hedgehog 2, once again featuring the voice of Ben Schwartz as Sonic.
In the first film, Sonic teamed up with local town sheriff Tom Wachowski (James Marsden) to stop the sinister mad scientist Dr. Robotnik (Jim Carrey). Robotnik wanted to catch and experiment on the hedgehog, and if he could also frame Tom as a domestic terrorist, even better. Sonic the Hedgehog had the good fortune to premiere before movie theaters shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and despite the mixed reviews, it posted the biggest opening weekend yet for a film based on a video game and eventually earned $319.7 million worldwide.
Several cast members expressed their eagerness to return for a sequel featuring the Chaos Emeralds from the video games, and director Jeff Fowler was game. Per the official synopsis:
The world’s favorite blue hedgehog is back for a next-level adventure in Sonic the Hedgehog 2. After settling in Green Hills, Sonic is eager to prove he has what it takes to be a true hero. His test comes when Dr. Robotnik returns, this time with a new partner, Knuckles, in search of an emerald that has the power to destroy civilizations. Sonic teams up with his own sidekick, Tails, and together they embark on a globe-trotting journey to find the emerald before it falls into the wrong hands.
As Sam wrote when the first trailer dropped last December, “Sonic is still a plucky, young-yet-eager superhero trying to come to grips with his powers, while his caretaker and human best friend (again, played by James Marsden) reminds the otherworldly hedgehog that maybe he should slow his spin-roll instead of causing trouble as a makeshift vigilante.” And Carrey returns as “Eggman” Robotnik, one of the best aspects of the first film—and this time, he has a snazzy new mustache (courtesy of being electrocuted at the end of the first film) and an army of floating robots.
Idris Elba voices Knuckles, a hot-headed red echidna with super strength. (We saw Sonic being chased by echidnas in the opening sequence of the first film.) Colleen O’Shaughnessey voices Miles “Tails” Prower, a precocious two-tailed yellow-orange fox who can fly—briefly introduced in a mid-credits scene in the first film. (O’Shaughnessey also voiced the character in the games.)
The live-action cast includes Tika Sumpter as Maddie, the local vet and wife of Marsden’s Tom; Natasha Rothwell as Maddie’s older sister Rachel; Adam Pally as Green Hills Sheriff’s Deputy Wade Whipple; Lee Majdoub as Agent Stone, formerly an assistant to Dr. Robotnik and who is now working as a barista at the Mean Bean coffee; Tom Butler as Commander Walters; Elfina Luk as the secretary of Homeland Security; and Shemar Moore as Rachel’s fiancé.
This final trailer opens with Tom attending Rachel’s Hawaiian wedding when his phone unexpectedly rings (Rude! Dude, set it to vibrate.) It’s Sonic, calling from some wintry dimension, in need of assistance. Naturally, Tom opens a portal so Sonic (carrying Tails) can crash through. Sonic then explains Dr. Robotnik’s nefarious plan, which is made even more feasible (and hence threatening) thanks to the help of his very own “space porcupine” (i.e., Knuckles).
Sonic still hasn’t quite matured into a bona fide superhero. “You’re terrible at this,” an armored truck guard observes mid-chase scene. But Sonic has friends nearby to lend their support. When Knuckles and Sonic finally go head to head, the former taunts him as being “unskilled,” “untrained,” and “unworthy.” Harsh. But the plucky Sonic defiantly replies, “You forgot one: unstoppable.” All in all, Sonic 2 looks like an entertaining, family-friendly ride.
Sonic the Hedgehog 2 hits theaters in France and the Netherlands on March 30, 2022, followed by a US release on April 8, 2022. The Russian release has been canceled entirely due to that country’s invasion of Ukraine. A third film is already in development, along with a spinoff series featuring Elba’s Knuckles character.
Listing image by Paramount Pictures