Am I the only one who wanted the producers of “Sonic the Hedgehog” to keep the original, disgusting design for Sonic? I’ll immediately counter myself, because the revised design for release looks great, but a part of me felt like something was missing, a certain expectation in my heart that just wanted to laugh at Sonic with human teeth.
Seeing “Sonic the Hedgehog” with alcohol in my stomach, a group of friends, and a full crowd at the local AMC was a trifecta necessary for the hysterical experience I had. Although I’ve played my fair share of Sonic the Hedgehog video games, my friend group, who are all intensified gamers, came in with the pretense that most video game movies are often terrible.
This, though, was not that at all.
Since it’s rare that filmmakers do video games justice, it’s also important to consider how awkward the translation from a game to a moving picture can be. In fact, I’m much more likely to groan at the sight of new video game movies than I would at book-to-movie adaptations. With “Sonic the Hedgehog,” we have a traditional superhero origin story format, but sprinkled with the campy qualities that can make a franchise like Sonic (with its own set of memes) perfectly goofy. As it should.
The real star of the movie, though, is Jim Carrey, in the most campy, return-to-form role I’ve ever seen, playing Dr. Robotnik, Sonic’s nemesis. Carrey’s career has been all over the place, but with “Sonic the Hedgehog” we see him at his most feral, raw, and expressive. I don’t want to say he’s what ties the movie together, because Ben Schwartz does a great job as Sonic. As a character, Sonic definitely gets annoying on his own (he does Fortnite dances at least twice in the film), but when surrounded by others for him to interact with, he’s allowed some room to develop as a character, which is a wanting trait for most video game characters. James Marsden, as the supporting role for Sonic, the sheriff of Green Hills, Montana, is only playing James Marsden. As always, he’s flat, uninteresting, and although he tries to be a quirky character, he came off as just a fodder character for storytelling.
I’m not really joking when I say “Sonic the Hedgehog” is the best superhero movie released this decade, but since my phase for Marvel and DC movies quickly withered long ago, I think I’m serious. Am I pumped for the possibility of a sequel? No. I’m stoked. Am I worried that the production team for “Sonic” might not be able to keep the same momentum for successive films? Naturally. But if “Sonic the Hedgehog” as debut is anything to appraise as a benchmark for sequels to come, then I have high hopes for a bright future. One where video game movies (hopefully) aren’t dumpster fires.