“Sonic the Hedgehog 2” is rated PG.

Cinema perseveres as “Sonic the Hedgehog 2” finds immense success during its opening weekend at theaters, promising a greater future for the video game-based franchise.

This sequel, like its predecessor, is undoubtedly meant for children, but it isn’t as light-footed as the first movie, as it expands the universe with more characters and plot points.

The movie, which surpassed Michael Bay’s latest “Ambulance,” earned an impressive $71 million during its opening weekend, according to studio estimates. The first “Sonic” movie was released in February 2020, over the Presidents Day holiday weekend, and earned $58 million over the three-day weekend.

Into the weeds (Spoilers ahead)

“Sonic the Hedgehog 2” presumes that you remember what happened in the first movie but, more or less, it works as a stand-alone. For one thing, Dr. Robotnik (Jim Carrey) is back, and this time he is bald and even more menacing, holding a grudge since the last movie. But other than that, you don’t need to remember much else.

Dr. Robotnik wants to destroy Sonic (voiced by Ben Schwartz) now more than ever. Sonic has finally found a home with a human couple, Tom (James Marsden) and Maddie (Tika Sumpter), while his nemesis is in exile after his last defeat against Sonic.

But this time, Dr. Robotnik is better prepared, with help from Knuckles the Echidna (voiced by Idris Elba), another alien who doesn’t like Sonic all that much. Sonic also has a brand-new ally from space, two-tailed fox Tails (voiced by Colleen O’Shaughnessey).

The Verge’s Charles Pulliam-Moore writes that all of these new, and old, characters infuse “the essence of their video game counterparts.”

Director Jeff Fowler returns for the sequel, creating an action-packed movie full of Sonic’s amusing commentary, although it doesn’t follow the game franchise's manic gameplay style, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

One big, happy family

At home, Sonic’s quest for being a hero isn’t appreciated by his stand-in parents, Maddie and Tom. They want Sonic to want to become more responsible, telling him that he’s “still just a kid.” This may feel relatable to many families whose children are growing up to demand their own freedoms.

But in Sonic’s case, he manages to get into deep trouble which is far away from the parental guidance he’s received. This sequel leans into how this alien with supersonic speed is just a kid who is learning the ways of the world.

According to Common Sense Media, Tom, a deputy, is a reliable member of the community, helping people through life and death situations on a daily basis, while his wife, Maddie, is a veterinarian. The couple have a supportive and loving relationship, offering a positive and aspirational relationship that values understanding and compassion.

What should parents know about ‘Sonic the Hedgehog 2’?

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The movie may offer families an enjoyable experience full of positive messages, like the importance of companionship, and positive role models, like Tom and Maddie.

As for language, it is mostly mild. Words in the movie include “butt,” “fart,” “hell” and “freak.” Some profane expressions start but get cut off before the strongest word is said out loud. In one instance, Sonic and Tom go to a bar where Tom drinks a beer and drives soon after. Since the movie is packed with action scenes, parents can expect cartoonish violence with lasers, bullets, tranquilizer guns and explosive devices.

“Sonic the Hedgehog 2” is refreshing for families after many movies geared toward this demographic in 2021 have had a PG-13 rating, like “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” “The Batman” and “Jungle Cruise.” The “Sonic” sequel seems unafraid of bringing an energetic plot that is appropriate for children, whether it’s Sonic’s childlike character or cartoonish violence that is reminiscent of “Looney Tunes.”

Should you watch ‘Sonic the Hedgehog 2’?

Overall, the movie is warm and sincere, offering families an enjoyable story. It is clear that the franchise is still finding its footing, with many new characters introduced this time. But it seems like only the beginning. A third movie is already in the works, along with a Knuckles spinoff series. So, there is much to look forward to in the Sonic universe.

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