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Here's What The Critics Are Saying About Sonic The Hedgehog 2

When fans got their first look at the "Sonic the Hedgehog" movie back in 2019, there was an uproar over the blue speedster's design, which tried to make the legendary video game character look a bit too human. Paramount quickly rushed to redesign the iconic hedgehog, but it seemed like the project might've been doomed before its release. Thankfully, that wasn't the case, and the film eventually managed to win audiences over, raking in $319 million worldwide (via Box Office Mojo). It was more than enough for the studio to greenlight a sequel, which started production in 2021. And now, it's finally almost here.

The first trailer for the sequel revealed that Sonic (Ben Schwartz) is joined by Tails (Colleen O'Shaughnessey) this time around as they go up against the sinister Dr. Robotnik (Jim Carrey) and his new henchman, Knuckles the echidna (Idris Elba). The evil scientist returns from the mushroom planet he was marooned on at the end of "Sonic the Hedgehog" in search of the Master Emerald — a gem that could be a revolutionary power source. It's something fans of the video game franchise will be familiar with, and it's clear that director Jeff Fowler is leaning heavily into the sprawling mythology from the games. Oh and don't worry, James Marsden and Nika Sumpter also reprise their roles as Tom and Maddie Wachowski, Sonic's adopted parents.

The first reactions from critics have now arrived online ahead of the movie's April 8 release date, and they're impressed with the sequel ... for the most part.

Critics say Sonic the Hedgehog 2 captures that 'all-important sense of adventure'

Although the first reviews for "Sonic the Hedgehog 2" have contained their fair share of criticism, it does appear that, for the most part, critics appreciate the sequel for its continued commitment to developing a fun atmosphere and introducing new characters. Radio Times' Patrick Cremona praised Sonic star Ben Schwartz for "another perky vocal performance in the role, full of warmth and humour ..." He also wrote that Colleen O'Shaughnessey "makes a successful transition from video games to film as Tails."

Meanwhile, GamesRadar's Bradley Russell found Idris Elba's Knuckles to be a worthy addition to the series. "The bristling echidna's hard-hitting approach is welcome, providing a far more physical threat for Sonic here than anything found in the original movie," he said. However, Russell did also criticize the sequel for being too similar to the first film, writing, "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."

And Sean Keene of CNet praised the movie for capturing the "all-important sense of adventure you remember from your childhood." He also singled out the visual effects, adding, "Every sequence focusing on Sonic and pals is so visually delightful and thoroughly dazzling."

However, not everyone was quite as impressed with the movie. Writing for Variety, Peter Debruge argued that the sequel "takes what was endearing about the original — in a word, personality — and renders it generic in a hurry." He went on to criticize the movie's long runtime, writing, "An hour and a half would've been a perfectly fine run time, whereas at two hours and change, 'Sonic 2' wears out its welcome well before it turns into yet another phone-it-in franchise entry ..."

What's next for Sonic the Hedgehog?

The early reactions from critics suggest that Paramount has a success on its hands with "Sonic the Hedgehog 2" — although whether it'll beat the original film's box office haul remains to be seen. Fans clearly loved the first film, as it has a 93% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes, so we may once again see plenty of families flocking to theaters on opening weekend. The mostly positive early reactions will also likely reassure the studio that the money has been a worthy investment, which would be welcome considering Paramount has already given the greenlight for "Sonic the Hedgehog 3" (via Deadline).

That announcement arrived back in February 2022, alongside the news that a spin-off series focused on Idris Elba's Knuckles is also in development for Paramount+. The live-action show is clearly the first step in expanding the "Sonic the Hedgehog" franchise, and it'll be interesting to see whether other characters will get their own shows further down the line. Producer Neal H. Moritz spoke to Deadline about the third sequel and the spin-off, saying, "The sky is truly the limit, and I am immensely proud to be part of creating new Sonic content for longtime fans as well as introducing Sonic to a new generation."

There are plenty of other heroes, anti-heroes, and villains in the "Sonic" world who could easily carry their own projects. But it just depends on who winds up being the focus of "Sonic the Hedgehog 3." It's entirely possible that it'll introduce iconic villains like Shadow the Hedgehog, Metal Sonic, Infinite, or even the God of Chaos. But whoever the villain ends up being, based on the early reviews for "Sonic the Hedgehog 2," it looks like Sonic is here to stay.