There are two kinds of adaptations: the suffocatingly reverential (Sin City, 300); and the loosey-goosey that hope to capture the spirit of the piece if not the actual piece (Coraline, Apocalypse Now). Sonic the Hedgehog, with its introduction of parental owl guardians and a bright, beaming James Marsden smile, falls into the latter. You either roll with it or you don’t. The choice is yours, and whatever your response, I won’t argue with you.
Personally, I went with it.
Ben Schwartz, wearing the body of the blue speedball, delivers the rapid, practically uncontainable enthusiasm of the character I’ve come to know from the games, cartoons, and comics, and I was delighted to see him tearing up the roads of our planet. Jim Carrey falling back into a mode we haven’t seen him in since the mid-90s gave me a nostalgic little ping as well, and it was enough to mask the fact that his Dr. Robotnik/Eggman bears very little resemblance to his source material counterpart.
Besides, in the final moments of the film, we’re given a glimmer of hope, suggesting that a sequel (all but guaranteed by its box office success) could delve deeper into the recognizable mythology of the games and comics.
First, we get a proper display of the Mushroom Hill Zone that Sonic once thought he would be forced to retreat upon but eventually banished Dr. Robotnik to when he tossed the chump’s behind through a ring portal. The mad scientist has gone full-Colonel Kurtz, shaving his scalp to its skin and growing his mustache to utterly cartoonish lengths. Still wrapped in the scraps of his flight suit, Robotnik finally looks like the demented creature we know and love.
Presumably, while Sonic is living his best life as the adopted son of Tom (Marsden) and Maddie (Tika Sumpter), Robotnik is chopping up the mushroom forests, squirreling away the best fungi for his nefarious purposes. Talking to his only companion, a lifeless rock, Robotnik explains how he’ll be off this planet by Christmas. He’s still in possession of an electric blue quill torn from Sonic’s back, and in combination with the mushrooms he’s foraging, he’ll be able to plot his escape.
Doctor Ivo “Eggman” Robotnik was created as a Sega company mascot before he was ever placed opposite Sonic the Hedgehog in the games. He’s a fairly basic kooky scientist type hellbent on universal domination with only one blue speck of fuzz standing in his way. He uses his 300 IQ to craft diabolical robotic drones called badniks (several of which we get to see in play within the film) to thwart his archnemesis, but like all good bad guys, he can never seem to be smart enough to win the day.
How he carves a path back to Earth using Sonic’s magic quill and a bag of mushrooms, I have no idea, but the hows are not really important at this point. What’s exciting is that the goofy, bald, mustachioed demon will be back, and he’ll be crazier than ever. If you thought Jim Carrey was already cranked to 11 in his performance in this first movie, you ain’t seen nothing yet. Prepare yourselves.
Don’t worry. Sonic won’t be alone in this fight. Not only will he have Tom and Maddie by his side, but the sequel will also pair him with a familiar furry face.
During the mid-credits sequence, on a high Montana mountaintop, a ring portal opens. Hopping from another space and time is a flighty two-tailed fox carrying some kind of tracking device. If you were in a theater crowded with children, you heard the entire audience erupt in delight. This rascal is Tails, the classic Robin to Sonic’s Batman.
The kid appears panicked. He needs to find Sonic fast. Everything he knows and loves is in terrible danger. From what? He doesn’t say. Instead, his twin-tails get to spinning, and the little fox flies off the mountain in search of his pal.
Although, they’re not really pals at this point in the movie. As we saw at the start of the film, Sonic was barely a toddler when Longclaw the Owl was slaughtered by a pack of ravaging Enchidas. Tails is significantly younger than Sonic, so they could not have been boyhood friends. More likely, Tails has heard tales of Sonic, and like Ms. Marvel with Captain Marvel, he’s developed passionate hero worship for the legendary hedgehog. With his world in peril, naturally, he’s going to go looking for the object of his obsession.
What could the great danger be? Well, if you look closely at his tracking device, at the bottom corner, you can see a little gem notification. That little icon could represent one of the Chaos Emeralds, which are similar to the Infinity Gems from the Marvel Cinematic Universe or the rings from Lord of the Rings.
Each emerald contains a mystical power — the ability to warp time, transform thoughts into physical attacks, revitalize the injured, etc. The seven emeralds can also be controlled by one Master Emerald, guarded by the great warrior Knuckles.
Oh yeah, that’s right, if we get a Sonic the Hedgehog sequel, not only do we demand more Tails and Robotnik, we demand Knuckles.
Introduced in the third Sonic the Hedgehog video game, Knuckles is an Enchida (those jerks who murdered Longclaw). Where Sonic can run fast, and Tails can fly, Knuckles comes equipped with a set of spiked fists that allow him to climb up any surface. He began life as an antagonist for Sonic, but through the course of the game, he comes to recognize Dr. Robotnik as the true villain of the piece and flips sides.
We expect nothing less from the Sonic the Hedgehog sequel.
Paramount Pictures has a hit on their hands. People showed up. They’re hungry for hedgehog, and the first film established a comfy cinematic live-action understanding for a weird cartoon world. Now, like the best sequels have done, the time to get nuts is here. Give us Eggman. Give us Tails. Give us Knuckles. We’ll wait on Bunnie Rabbot, Rotor the Walrus, and Scourge the Hedgehog, but not long. I’m already primed for the Sonic the Hedgehog trilogy.