Sonic the Hedgehog movie review (2020)

Sonic the Hedgehog is much better than I ever expected it to be, delivering lots of laughs, solid action sequences mixed with great special effects, and many heartfelt moments, even if it is a bit short, cheesy, and childlike at times.

I’ve been a fan of Sonic the Hedgehog for as long as I can remember, and that’s obviously because of the video game series created by Sega. That doesn’t necessarily mean I’ve whole-heartedly defended the last few entries the last couple of years, though. I mean, if I’m being honest, the last few releases have been pretty awful, at least the ones that have stayed true to the formula of the original gameplay. Sure, Sonic Generations was a slight glimmer of hope, but it simply wasn’t enough. The last great game in this series was Sonic Adventure 2, and it released almost 20 years ago.

Prior to seeing the movie, I had my reservations since the current state of the games are in a pretty bad spot, along with the fact that most video game film adaptations have been mostly forgettable. But, the last couple of years, it seems the narrative of bad video game movies is shifting for the better. For example, films like Warcraft, Tomb Raider, and Detective Pikachu aren’t perfect, but each had some enjoyable qualities, especially the latter. The animated Castlevania series on Netflix is pretty awesome too.

After seeing Sonic the Hedgehog, I can say, with confidence, it’s the best video game film adaptation to date. Obviously, it isn’t saying much, but I had way more fun with it than I thought I would. Obviously, it doesn’t come without its problems, but this is as good as a Sonic movie was ever going to be.

One of the best aspects of the film is the characters and the relationships they have with one another. In specific, the film mostly revolves around the blue blur himself, Sonic (voiced by Ben Schwartz), and the main human protagonist, Tom Wachowski, a.k.a. Donut Lord (you’ll understand this soon enough) played by James Marsden. They provide a ton of comedic relief.

Speaking on another very important character, and one, for most people, is the reason why this movie was even more appealing, is Jim Carrey’s Dr. Robotnik. I expected absolutely nothing less from his portrayal. Yes, it’s over-the-top and very exaggerated, both with the physical appearance and the way he carries himself, and a bit ridiculous. Then again, as mentioned, it’s what I was preparing for. He was a bit annoying sometimes and I can say some of his humor didn’t always land, but Carrey has a unique way of selling the performance in a positive way. I don’t think there’s anyone else who could’ve done what he did with the character and I think it pays off in more ways than one.

The film is very nostalgic, especially with Sonic’s abilities, drawing a ton of inspiration from what’s already established in the video games, while also introducing new elements. I won’t get into too much detail about those though since I think, especially for fans of the series, it’ll be a treat to watch for the very first time without having any preconceived notions. But, I will say it’ll be most evident when you see Sonic in action. I think the creators did a fantastic job with the visual effects in the action sequences. There are certain scenes which remind me of the QuickSilver slow-mo scenes in Fox’s X-Men films, which are pretty great.

What impacted me the most is how emotionally touching the movie can be at times, particularly with Sonic. In a sense, he’s an outsider trying to find a place where he belongs. Ultimately, he wants to fit in and have friends. He’s tired of being lonely and it does take a toll on him. It’s probably the plot point in the movie that stuck with me the most since it worked pretty well, at least for me.

Despite all the things I enjoyed, I will say it isn’t a perfect film. Then again, it’s hard to think of a film that is. This movie is obviously geared towards the younger audience. This is very evident with some of the humor and the dialogue. It may be somewhat of a turnoff for the older audience, but it’s not like the games are extremely hardcore. It’s mostly what I expected.

I also wish the movie was a bit longer and explored a bit more with the property. There are a variety of characters in this series I wish would’ve made an appearance in this movie. I will say though, there’s a ton of potential for these characters to be introduced in future movies. Stay put during the credits and that’s all I’m going to say. The world building is most definitely there and I hope this movie is successful enough to see it through.

I really enjoyed Sonic the Hedgehog. It was much better than I ever thought it would be. I was very critical of it from the trailers and my expectations were pretty low, as I already explained before. I just had to give it a chance, though. After seeing what the creators did in terms of listening to the fans and completely redesigning the character, I just had to support this movie. I’m glad I did and I hope there’s more in store.

If you’re a fan of the series, I definitely recommend it. It’s simply a fun time all around. There are certain things I would love to see more of in the sequel, which is probably my main gripe, along with some other minor issues. Other than that, it’s very enjoyable and a very solid homage to the video games. This is the best video game movie, I think, and I hope it continues the shift for the better when it comes to video game adaptations.

Score: B


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