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What the Rotten Tomatoes reviews are saying about Sonic the Hedgehog

Sonic the Hedgehog is off to the races.

After a troubled production history that involved a complete redesign of the titular character due to the first trailer giving fans nightmares, the first live-action vehicle for the speedy blue hedgehog from the iconic Sega video game series is here. The general critical consensus: not too shabby.

Sonic famously had its release date pushed back from late last year due to the redesign, which became necessary after fans took to social media in droves to express their bewilderment, disappointment, and abject terror at Sonic's weird eyes, ripped thighs, and bizarrely humanlike teeth. Fortunately for the filmmakers, the VFX shots featuring Sonic in the trailer were the only ones that had been finished, so it wasn't a complete overhaul; studio Paramount had to shell out a fair amount of dough to make it happen, though, so the fact that critics are so far pleased with Sonic has got to be a relief for the studio's brass.

The flick features a sterling cast that includes Ben Schwartz (BoJack Horseman) as Sonic, James Marsden (Westworld) as his police officer buddy Tom Wachowski, Neal McDonough (Dum Dum Dugan in the Marvel Cinematic Universe) as Major Bennington, and — in an inspired casting choice — the great Jim Carrey as Sonic's nemesis, Dr. Ivo Robotnik. Let's take a look at how the critics are responding to Sonic the Hedgehog.

Positive reviews called Sonic the Hedgehog fast-paced and fun

As of this writing, the movie is Certified Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes, and the positive notices generally agree that while Sonic isn't high art, it's a breezy good time which benefits from a quick pace (which, really, is only fitting). It's not even necessary to be a fan of the video game series to enjoy Sonic, as noted by Johnny Oleksinski of the New York Post. "Know [that] the movie is a lot better than it deserves to be," he wrote. "You'll actually care about what happens to the prickly blue dude, even if you never cared about getting to zone seven... Sonic the Hedgehog is very much in [the] conversation with Pokémon: Detective Pikachu."

A fair number of critics, such as the Washington Post's Kristen Page-Kirby, seemed genuinely shocked to be turning in a positive review. The very headline of her review contained a double-take: "Sonic the Hedgehog is sweet, funny, and smart. Wait, what?" Page-Kirby praised Sonic as "quippy without being mean, and sweet without being sappy, making [it] a trip that's well worth taking."

Some observers were a bit more reserved in their praise ("I've known better than to get excited about video game movies at this point," write We Live Entertainment's Aaron Neuwirth, "so the best I can say is the film delivers on what it sets out to do").

In general, though, the flick's positive reviews found it to be a fun, family-friendly, action-packed ride with a distinct '90s vibe. "Is it possible that Sonic the Hedgehog is the first thoroughly entertaining movie of the year?" asked The Weekend Warrior's Edward Douglas, answering his own question: "Yes, indeedy."

Negative reviews found Sonic the Hedgehog to be just mediocre

Of course, some critics weren't convinced. Those who disagreed with the majority found Sonic to be a halfhearted effort, not to mention derivative of better films (Robbie Collin of The Telegraph called it "faux-E.T.") and devoid of a unique sense of humor.

Referring to Sonic's infamous original design, A.A. Dows of A.V. Club wrote, "[When Sonic opens his mouth], you maybe wish those ghastly teeth were still there, if only to distract from the lazy wisecracks, pop culture references, and earnest clichés that come flooding out. Sonic's first line of dialogue? 'I know what you're thinking,' uttered in voice-over and slathered on top of a freeze frame of the climax. Yes, it's that kind of movie: a nattering chore of a 'family' comedy that feels written by committee and directed by indifferent machine."

Some negative notices at least conceded that kids will probably be into Sonic, even if it may leave their parents eyeing the EXIT sign. "The film is fine, familiar fare for gamers and children," wrote USA Today's Brian Truitt. "Sonic sprints, Carrey mugs, but the creative juices run out quickly."

In some critics, though, the flick simply engendered outright hostility. Channeling Roger Ebert, Evan Dossey of Midwest Film Journal wrote, "It's been a long road for Sonic the Hedgehog to the silver screen, considering it's a 30-year old intellectual property that hasn't been relevant for two decades. A long, crazy, talent-sinking road that leads to nowhere... [the movie] joins an endless stream of attempted IP resurrections destined to litter the bottom of the box office."

Critics agreed that Jim Carrey is in top form in Sonic the Hedgehog

Regardless of whether Sonic the Hedgehog happened to be their cup of tea, though, critics agreed near-unanimously on one thing: Jim Carrey turns in an unrestrained, manic performance, the likes of which we haven't seen for decades.

In a positive review, Total Film's Jordan Farley called Carrey's performance "preposterous," opining that adults in the audience would find it to be "an enjoyable shot of nostalgia" (via GamesRadar). In an even more positive review, Tessa Smith of Mama's Geeky — who went so far as to call Sonic "mind-blowingly good" — wrote that it was "great to see Jim Carrey doing what he does best."

From the department of "somebody had to say it," comes Travis Hopson of Punch Drunk Critics, who called Carrey's turn as Robotnik "batsh*t" before offering a bit of clarification. "Whatever message the movie might have is secondary to Carrey, who dominates literally every moment he's on screen," Hopson wrote. "[Carrey gives] such an exaggerated, wacky performance it makes [his In Living Color character] Fire Marshall Bill look positively tame. [Carrey is] pure madness personified, and it's perfect for a movie about a talking hedgehog who can run faster than the speed of sound."

Well, that's pretty much all that anyone had to say to get us on board. Sonic the Hedgehog looks like a heck of a lot of fun, and if nothing else, it deserves to be remembered as the product of that time when fans chimed in with their two cents on social media about how a film could be better in advance of its release, and the filmmakers actually listened. Regardless of how you may feel about Sonic, that in itself is a minor miracle.