Sonic the Hedgehog (2020): Spoiler Space

So you may be asking yourself, what’s a jaded Gen X’er doing at a children’s movie based on a stagnant video game franchise? Well it’s a loooong story… but I’ll tell it FAST!!!

IlikedtheearlySonicplatformersandwashavingabaddaysoIwenttoseethemovieanditwasokay.

Too fast for ya? Well then let me break it down. You can all guess what’s going to be bad about this movie from the trailers. So I’ll spoiler tag some things I liked.

Click for Spoilers

The Efficient prologue. Sonic escaped his home world and is lonely. James Marsden’s a small town sheriff and feels unimportant. We get the talky talky out of the way so we can get to the plot FAST!!!

Sonic’s Innocence. At first I thought this was a mistake. Sonic embodies Sega’s rude kid brother attitude. Pulling on Nintendo’s pig-tales and giving a sassy oh-no-she-didn’t finger wag. Sonic could have been a cocky bastard who needs to be brought down a peg. That would make the film insufferable. Letting Robotnik be the rude one was a good choice.

The Highway Set piece. I didn’t like watching Sonic beat up people in a bar. We saw someone lose their teeth, yet Sonic treats it like a joke. I’d rather watch him beat up robots. And he did here. The transforming robot boss was a clever creation and I liked the way the scene built.

Dr. Robotnik’s Intelligence. Some kids movies make their villains stupid. Robotnik’s smart. His fatal flaw is his arrogance. Jim Carey enjoys playing intelligent and I appreciated his one liners in the aforementioned highway scene.

Parallel Arcs. Sonic, James Marsden and Dr. Robotnik are all lonely misfits. They talk to inanimate objects. Sonic and James benefit from friendship while Robotnik pushes his one friend, Agent Stone, away.

Agent Stone. I like an efficient, queer coded minion with a moral compass. I was hoping Robotnik would get a “pet the dog” moment with him but twas not to be. Instead we get Robotnik talking helplessly to an actual stone, Castaway style, when he finds himself stranded.

Tika Sumpter. Aka “the wife.” She’s nice. She didn’t get stuck in the “nagging killjoy” or “damsel in distress” role. She didn’t get to do much at all but I look forward to seeing Sumpter in better films.

Tonal Consistency. Franchise scripts written by committee often have tonal issues. Here the “pathos” laden moments weren’t taken too seriously which kept it in line with the cartoon hijinks. James Marsden and Ben Schwartz know how to straddle that line.

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Robotnik 2

(Why am I spoiler tagging a spoiler space? Because some people like to peek before seeing the movie, then wish they hadn’t. You know who you are.)

Unfamiliar with the Sonic franchise? Check out Jello Apocalypse’s animated summary.

Seen it? Plan to? What are your thoughts?