I have a love-hate relationship with movie sequels. Sometimes I get pleasantly surprised, and films follow the logical progression of their predecessors. This happened with sequels like The Empire Strikes Back, The Dark Knight and Terminator 2. These elite films picked up perfectly from the original films, expanding upon the worlds that had been created, all without losing the magic or charm generated. But for each great sequel, there are hundreds of failures.

Why do most sequels fail to live up to the hype? I have some theories. A lot of times, studios will change out the scriptwriters and/or directors between films. This means that we have a new crew coming up with where they think the story should go, which doesn’t always align with the previous vision of the writers/directors.

Studios also may want to go a different direction with the characters, thus forcing the crew to adapt to the demands or risk having the project shelved. I also believe that once something becomes popular, too many hands get involved, changing the formula. It’s the whole “too many cooks” syndrome. I am sure there are more forces at play here. But as you can see, it really boils down to studio involvement.

Sonic The Hedgehog 2 is yet another victim of studio encroachment.

The movie picks up shortly after the events of Sonic The Hedgehog. Dr. Robotnik (Jim Carrey) finds a way to harness the power of Sonic’s quill to reach out to other civilizations, hoping to escape the mushroom world. He makes contact with Knuckles (voiced by Idris Elba), a warrior who blames Sonic (voiced by Ben Schwartz) for the downfall of his people.

Knuckles and Robotnik make their way back to our world, seeking an emerald that will grant them the power to defeat Sonic. With his family consisting of Tom (James Marsden) and Maddie (Tika Sumpter) on a trip, Sonic is left alone to fend off these villains. That is, until he is befriended by a plucky sidekick named Tails (voiced by Colleen O’Shaughnessey).

The fate of the world rests in the hands of these two heroes in training.

Let me start by saying that Sonic 2 is not a horrible film. I took my 7-year-old daughter to see it. She was in love with Sonic and Tails. It was to the point that when we got into the car, she said, “Dad, I totally need a Tails toy! Can we go get one?”

And I found myself chuckling a few times at the comedic timing of Jim Carrey. Honestly, his performance was spot on in the first film and seems to have held up quite nicely in Sonic 2. If you have kids and/or you’re a die-hard fan of the Sonic franchise, this movie is not going to disappoint.

That being said, there were a lot of problems with this sequel. Where the first Sonic film seemed to be at odds with the fact it was based on a video game, Sonic 2 seems to embrace it. That is a problem, because the charm of the first one did not rely on you having much knowledge of the video games or cartoons. It was a stand-alone project that felt like it could belong in the real world.

The minds behind Sonic 2 decided they needed to embrace the gaming series. There were moments that broke the quasi-realism of the character, making it feel like these video game characters were not really in our world.

The studio still kept director Jeff Fowler in place for Sonic 2, but seemed like it did not give him the keys to the kingdom as they did with the first movie. There were moments that catered to the younger audience (Why was there an impromptu dance-off????). I am sure there was a goal to make this movie more kid friendly to help sell more Sonic merchandise, and it worked, as you can tell from my daughter’s earlier response. There is nothing wrong with it inherently, but it put some water on the spark that Sonic The Hedgehog had.

Sonic The Hedgehog 2 really deserves two different scores. When I asked my kiddo what her score was, she said it received five out of five stars. However, the drop-off in quality from the first makes me give it three out of five stars.

Sonic 3 is in production now, and I know my kid will be excited to see what happens (and if you saw the end of Sonic 2, you know what is coming), but for me, I simply feel like it will become a campy film that is geared more for selling games and toys than telling a good story that anyone of any age can get into.

I hope the studio backs off some but realize that is probably not going to happen.