Sonic: Next Level

Audrey Baxter, Volunteer Writer

Have you ever experienced a movie of such amazing quality that you could probably talk all day about it? On April 8, I went to watch Sonic the Hedgehog 2, also known as Sonic Next Level, and it was such a good movie! There are a lot of things about the movie that make me encourage fans of videogames and Sonic the Hedgehog alike to go and watch this movie. The best part about this movie is that you can enjoy it without knowing anything about the Sonic franchise as well, making it very appealing to everyone of all ages.

The scene opens up where the first movie ended, with Dr. Robotnik, played by Jim Carrey, on the Mushroom Planet. He attempts to make himself a cup of mushroom coffee and narrates his stay on the planet. Eventually, a portal opens, and three unknown humans walk out and right into Dr. Robotnik’s intricately set traps, giving him a chance to escape. Robotnik darts for the portal before being greeted by the hero we know today as Knuckles, voiced by Idris Elba. Knuckles has been on the search for this gem called the Master Emerald, which contains massive abilities that can turn thoughts into power. Robotnik recognizes this as his chance to take down Sonic and asks him to team up. Knuckles, oblivious to how malicious Robotnik is, joins with him to defeat Sonic. The scene opens up back on Earth, where we find Sonic, voiced by Ben Schwartz, on top of a building. He watches as three robbers are chased in a van. These robbers have a hostage and decide to antagonize the cops with explosives. Sonic sees this as his chance to be heroic and jumps in to try and aid the cops in the case, only to destroy a block of Seattle, WA. Sonic’s home is in Green Hills, MO where he lives with his adoptive parents Tom Wachowski, played by James Marsden, and Maddie Wachowski, played by Tika Sumpter.

Sonic returns to Green Hills and decides to go to sleep for a few hours. Ozzie, the Wachowski dog, goes to Sonic’s attic room to wake him up by giving him kisses while also being greeted by Maddie. Maddie reminds Sonic that he has plans to go fishing with Tom that morning and Sonic ends up getting scolded for his recklessness in Seattle by Tom, who makes the comment “You still have some growing up to do.”

The next day, Maddie and Tom go to Maddie’s sister’s wedding in Hawaii, leaving Sonic alone at the house by himself with Ozzie the dog. Sonic is having lots of fun being alone by eating snacks, watching movies, and just enjoying his alone time before Robotnik attacks Sonic in his own home. This is also where Sonic meets Knuckles for the first time– by being attacked by him. Their battle is short-lived before Tails, voiced by Colleen O’Shaughnessey, hijacks a police car and hits Knuckles with it, giving Sonic and Tails a brief moment to escape to safety. 

Tails and Sonic team up and go on adventures to Syria in search of the Master Emerald that Knuckles and Robotnik were tracking. Tails and Sonic’s goal was to keep it out of Robotnik’s hands at all costs. Their adventure goes from skiing down a mountain, to crashing a wedding in Hawaii, to being locked up in a hotel by the military. Maddie and her sister, Rachel (played by Natasha Rothwell) use Tails’ tools that he had left to help rescue them. Unfortunately, Robotnik finds the Master Emerald and becomes a worse villain from the immense power it holds. Towards the end of the movie, we see Sonic regaining the Master Emerald that had been stolen by Robotnik. Sonic, Knuckles, and Tails start working together to bring down Robotnik and they watch Sonic become “super.” This is where a lot of the fans began cheering in the theater from excitement as Sonic defeated Robotnik once again and formed a friendship with Knuckles. Together, Sonic and Knuckles decide to protect the Master Emerald.

For me, I believe this movie was a solid 5 out of 5 when it comes to the excitement, adventure, and comedy. I am a huge Sonic fan, so I enjoyed the movie to the fullest extent. This movie is certainly one that you do not need to know anything about to enjoy it like a normal movie. One thing I would probably change is how back and forth it is. We go from watching Sonic’s viewpoint to Tom and Maddie’s to Robotnik’s point of view. For me, that was a slight headache, and while it did tie some knots within the movie, I feel that maybe they could have had two different viewpoints, with Maddie, Tom, Sonic, and Tails all being together, then Robotnik and Knuckles’ viewpoints together. All in all, this movie is definitely worth watching if you love videogames, Sonic, or just need a fresh new movie to watch! The wait to get in was definitely very noisy and full of energy with young fans wearing Sega merch in honor of the movie. A lot of children even came with their parents to watch it, and it was very exciting to see so many fans alike coming together for this movie.

The actors did a fantastic job with their character portrayal and attitude with each other. There were many scenes where it was hard to tell if they were genuine or if they were acting.  The music scores added a lot and helped set the mood for what was coming next! Even the special effects for Sonic’s powers made the theater come to life with excitement. Overall for opening night, everything went very smoothly with seating, concessions, and even the movie itself was very enjoyable. One thing that stuck out to me the most was how many references to the past games there were like the Sonic Adventure pose and the ice zone in Sonic Adventure to name a few.