Sonic The Hedgehog 2 Early Buzz: An Overlong, But Harmlessly Fun Sequel

I'll probably never forget going to the theater a few weeks back and watching the "Sonic the Hedgehog 2" trailer play in front of the movie. After the trailer ended, some poor child cried out plaintively, "I thought Knuckles was good. Why isn't he good???"

Assuming the dramatic and apparently slightly too-intense trailers didn't turn him off completely from eventually watching the sequel, that kid would probably be thrilled to know that the review embargo for "Sonic the Hedgehog 2" has lifted and the critical response to the film is actually ... quite positive! Of course, that's quite consistent with the initial reactions to the first film, even if it notoriously experienced a bit of a bumpy road on the way to release. Fans will no doubt remember the drama and hilarity that unfolded upon our first look at the film's original design for the famous blue hedgehog, an unholy amalgamation of unnervingly human-like teeth, a face firmly in the realm of the uncanny valley, and an appearance that hardly resembled the popular video game character at all. After the immediate backlash prompted the creators to go back to the drawing board, the improved redesign helped coax the film to mixed-positive reviews praising the film as, essentially, harmless and family-friendly fluff.

The sequel, directed once again by filmmaker Jeff Fowler working with returning screenwriters Pat Casey and Josh Miller (joined by John Whittington this time around) promised to up the ante even more with the addition of Sonic's traditional foe-turned-friend Knuckles, voiced by silky tones of Idris Elba (who, may we never forget, insisted that the character wouldn't sound "sexy"). 

/Film's review of the film is presently on its way, but in the meantime, fans can get a brief overview of the early buzz directed towards the sequel. Check it out below!

Sonic the Hedgehog 2 early buzz

"Sonic the Hedgehog 2" is currently slated for release in theaters on April 8, 2022. Those looking to brush up on the first "Sonic the Hedgehog" film can spot it on the Paramount+ streaming service, available to paying subscribers. Otherwise, keep scrolling to dive into everything the critics are saying about the sequel!

We'll kick things off with THR's review of the film:

Overstuffed with frantic action and framed by Sonic's wisecracking commentary, "Sonic the Hedgehog 2'"will appeal to family audiences seeking holiday distractions even if it doesn't break new ground elaborating the franchise's sprawling universe of intersecting characters and plotlines.

Next up is Variety, taking aim at the sequel as a "rush-job" and more "generic" than the original ... but not without its own charms! Slightly overlong runtime aside, the fan service packed into the film should please any fan of the original games.

It should be said that the first 90 minutes of "Sonic 2" are actually pretty clever, thanks to all the creative ways the screenwriters devised to honor the games without derailing the plot.

Meanwhile, Carlos Aguilar from The Wrap calls it "a surprisingly satisfying follow-up" with plenty to enjoy:

Proof that one can elevate a mostly disposable franchise investing in the casting and screenplay, "Sonic the Hedgehog 2" doesn't harbor any illusions of being a beacon of cinema, but within its department as "the harmless option for family viewing during Spring Break," it offers enough surprises to more pleasant than unbearable.

Over at Empire, the prognosis for this sequel breaking the so-called "video game curse" appears ... somewhat bleaker. every respect "Sonic The Hedgehog 2" is really just more of the same. Steered by largely the same creative team as before, this is simply more fairly generic and forgettable family fodder: a Saturday-morning cartoon with a Hollywood budget, targeted primarily at an audience of eight-year-olds.

The Guardian, while criticizing many of the same elements for amounting to little more than "so-so," describes the film thusly:

There's not much to spoil about "Sonic the Hedgehog 2" because there's not very much to say about it, other than it's mildly amusing and reasonably competently assembled.

The Digital Fix review for "Sonic 2" takes a much more enthusiastic spin on the film, with writer Emma-Jane Betts saying calling it "a sequel done right."

However, with more jokes, more fun, and more creativity, "Sonic the Hedgehog 2" is one of those rare cases where a sequel manages to live up to its predecessor. And even rarer a case — it beats the first movie in terms of capturing the heart and soul of the game franchise on which it sets out to adapt for the big screen.

Digital Spy, while overall coming away with a positive impression of the sequel, reiterates the same runtime complaint that others experienced, with the film clocking in at a slightly patience-testing 2 hours and 2 minutes.

Bigger isn't always better, and with some stricter editing, "Sonic the Hedgehog 2" could have been a high-energy blast. As it is, there are lulls to be found and hopefully when the third movie comes around, lessons will have been learnt and we could be in for a real treat.

And lastly, the aptly-named Games Radar also lands at a review where the video game movie's positives just outweigh the negatives.

In truth, the original just edges out the sequel. The story beats here follow the same well-worn path as the 2020 film, with Robotnik's mad schemes and the power-of-friendship message feeling a touch reheated a second time around, even with the added wrinkle of Knuckles and the noticeably improved special effects. But this snappy sequel proves Sonic's race isn't run yet.

Check out the film's official synopsis:

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 for 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.