Venom Kyo’s Spoileriffic, Hastily Written, Sonic Movie Review

So first things first. This movie is actually good. I don’t know how they managed it, but they fucking did it. This movie isn’t any kind of masterpiece by any stretch, but it’s by far the best video game movie I’ve ever seen. I am a huge Sonic fan, but have almost zero experience with post Genesis Sonic games. Thankfully, that’s meaningless when it comes to this film.

Please be advised, this review will have heavy spoilers.

The film starts off with an absolutely stunning and accurate depiction of the island from Sonic 1. Our blue boy is depicted as a small child, running around Green Hill Zone, going through loops and up hills and shit. I was extremely impressed with the obvious love and care that they put into this scene. It’s obvious that the people behind this film are familiar with the source material. In fact, this one scene is more accurate to the games than all of the 90’s sonic cartoon were in their entirety. It’s kinda nuts to be honest.

Things kinda go south from there for Sonic, though. He reaches his destination and meets up with a giant owl that gives Sonic a bag of rings and sends him off to Earth because he’s being hunted down by monsters that look kind of like Knuckles. That’s about as elaborate a backstory as you get. It’s explained that these rings can be used as portals to warp between planets, or seemingly other places on Earth, as is later established in the movie.

I won’t summarize the entire movie but suffice to say, the opening makes a strong impression. Sonic was instructed by the owl to remain hidden on Earth, so he spends the next decade isolating himself while also spying on this couple. Through this, we are given an explanation of why Sonic is so aware of pop culture. It also is rather sad watching Sonic be so lonely. That’s right, this movie genuinely makes you feel things, which surprised the fuck out of me. Sonic is lonely, and kind of pathetic in a way. The way they tie this into a very interesting explanation of Sonic’s powers for those unfamiliar with the character is clever, and simultaneously gut wrenching to watch. Sonic is well voiced, well animated, and fun to watch when he isn’t making me feel horrible for him.

Eventually, his depression leads him to lose control of his speed and he creates an EMP or Sonic Boom or whatever that knocks out the power to the entire North East. This gains the attention of the government. They reluctantly decide to call Dr. Robotnik to aid in figuring out the cause of the blackout, and our plot kicks off.

Jim Carrey does a great job of portraying himself in this film. While he doesn’t look or act anything like the game/cartoon version of Dr. Robotnik, it still manages to work. There’s nothing new in this performance beyond the fact that he’s obviously evil. If you’ve seen Ace Ventura Pet Detective or Liar Liar you knoe exactly what to expect. Frankly, I would be disappointed if it was any other way. His portrayal of Robotnik is surprisingly fleshed out. It’s implied that he’s a dick because he was neglected as a child. His hyper intelligence is also played up far more than any other portrayal. Though, it has no effect on the plot.

The rest of the human cast is predictably bland but certainly not offensively bad as I expected. They’re just kinda there to keep the plot moving. Tom, Sonics human buddy in this movie exists solely to keep the movie grounded in some form of reality and please shareholders. That being said, I kinda liked him. Sure, he’s not interesting in any way, shape or form, but he’s a nice break from Sonics non stop wise cracking. He’s not angsty despite the plot having him becoming a wanted criminal for helping Sonic, and he punches Robotnik in the face like 3 times so thats kinda cool I guess.

The three act structure of the film is incredibly apparent because they’re all drastically different. Generally, when this happens, the three parts feel disjointed, but here, somehow, it doesn’t. I suppose it may have something to do with how the movies plot primarily is just an excuse to make jokes. This isn’t a bad thing though. Shows like The Simpsons thrive on this format, and somehow this movie does a good enough job with the laughs to make it work with the 90 minute runtime. Something even The Simpsons Movie wasn’t able to accomplish. Most of the jokes land like they should and are well written. There is a scene where Sonic is forced to stay in a truck while his human friend goes to use a payphone. Our blue hero observed out the window a biker bar, which entices him. I won’t spoil the joke but the increasingly absurd badassery from the bikers and Sonic’s reaction to said badassery was hilarious. Every single thing Jim Carrey does and says is hilarious as well. He obviously enjoyed making this movie. Ironically enough, they seemed to have used the worst jokes from the movie for the trailer. Sonic playing with nunchuks and hitting himself and the shit where he slides across the car hood being prime examples. Recently it seems the Sonic series has been heavily leaning on meme humor, and I am happy to announce that aside from an appearance of Sonic at the very beginning, there’s nothing like that in there. If you were hoping to find references to PINGAS, Sonichu, or whatever other nonsense is out there you’ll be disappointed.

Naturally, there is also quite a bit of action in this film. Nothing outrageous but entertaining enough to keep me amused. The penultimate scene in the film being the most interesting, despite being a cliche. Sonic, seemingly defeated, lays in a street. However, the power of friendship is called upon at the last moment and Sonic proceeds to beat the living tar out of Robotnik and his ship. It’s a lot like what you’d get from one of the games. Robotnik’s comments prior to getting fucked up are also mean enough that watching him get his ass kicked is satisfying. This actually works well because the stakes are kept relatively low this time, which should have made the final fight less tense. Now, If you were hoping to see the Death Egg or exploding moons or whatever you’ll be disappointed. However, a sequel could easily escalate to that point.

This film was definitely written with the idea that there would be a sequel. Robotnik looks the way he does because he has yet to completely lose his mind. Sonic is rolling with a human because he’s not combat ready and still doesn’t realize his potential until the end of the movie. It’s an origin story and a relatively interesting one despite existing primarily as an excuse for funny shit to happen. Seeing Sonic and Robotnik meet for the first time was fascinating. The problem is, they don’t get much screen time together. I hope the sequel will fix this, as they are both by far the most fleshed out characters.

All in all, this movie was surprisingly enjoyable and I highly recommend it. It’s not high art, but it’s one of the best Hollywood movies I’ve seen this past year. We’re in a lull right now with Hollywood where everything feels so robotic and soulless. Enter the Spiderverse, Avengers Endgame, Lion King, and Star Wars Episode 9 were the movies I’ve seen at the theater this past year. Usually day one too. To think that this movie was more enjoyable than all of those kinda blows my mind. This is not something I was looking forward to even remotely. Yet, I walked out of the theater happy. I can’t say that about any of the movies I just listed. Spiderverse included. I mean, I liked Spiderverse but they did some shit in there that rubbed me the wrong way. Don’t get me started. Maybe I’m just not going to see the right movies. As a family man, my choices are rather limited. Having kids means a night out has to be curated to be appropriate and fun for the kiddos. As kids entertainment goes, Sonic the Hedgehog is absolute gold. I have no qualms with the fact that when this releases on Blu-Ray I will be forced to watch this movie another 70 times.

If I had to rate Sonic the Hedgehog on a scale of 1 to 100, 50 being average, it’s a solid 70. If you love Sonic, you will absolutely adore this movie. If you just enjoy a good time, you can do way worse.