Why Sonic 2 Is Better Than Mario Remastered

So, over the weekend, I decided–on a whim–to go back and watch the live action adventures of Sonic The Hedgehog and its sequel, chewing up a precious four hours of my life that I probably would have spent 40% between video editing and 60% playing video games. (okay, fine, I’ll admit: I’m being generous)

I believe I’ve already said here that as a kid, I liked Sonic far better than I did Mario, but it had always seemed like the speedy little spin dash had had a better run (heh, get it?) when it came to movies and tv shows. Mario had that funny little animated tv show and the infamous movie, but Sonic got like six or seven animated shows, three or four of them I saw as a kid. The Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog, Sonic the Hedgehog, Sonic Underground, and Sonic Boom to name a few. Sonic was just a lot more personable, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy the red plumber as well as the blue hedgehog.

But upon witnessing the triumphant success of Illumination’s Super Mario Bros. Movie, I decided to take a closer look at other semi-acclaimed titles. I had heard that Sonic was a modest success and Sonic 2 even more so, so I decided to give the pair a shot. I finished up work early, kicked my feet up, and settled down to watch a movie…which is, mind you, something I don’t do too often these days.

Sonic the Hedgehog was…ever-so-slightly above average. It was a fine film with a couple of times to shine, and that’s only cool if you need two hours to kill. Unless you’re a Sonic fan or want to watch the sequel, I would not recommend it simply on the basis that it’s not fun enough. I could pick it all I wanted, but that’s not the point of this article. Sonic 1 was okay, kind of boring.

Sonic 2 is where everything picks up. If the first movie was a 6/10, the second is a solid 8. There was really a dramatic raise when it came to stakes, animation, ingenuity, and fidelity to the games. One of my main complaints of Sonic 1 is that it was just so banal, as the large majority of it took place in the real world. This is the opposite of how the Mario movie went: our hero starting in the banality of the real world, then having an adventure in a more fantastical one. Sonic starts in Green Hills Zone, but outside of that there’s little influence from the games and lore in the actual movie.

Sonic 2 changed that by adding in the main narrative of the original game series: the chaos emeralds, or more accurately the master emerald. Eggman was much more hilariously maniacal, and two more characters from the video game cast were added in addition to putting fantastical setpieces and lore within the story. Sonic 2 is actually a good movie, whereas the first one is merely mediocre.

But then it got me thinking: Mario and Sonic (and by extension, Nintendo and Sega) were enemies back in the days of retro gaming, always innovating to see who could have the better platformer game. Sonic turned out to be a stronger platformer experience than Mario, but one Legend of Zelda walked onto the scene Sega’s platform began to crumble. Sega made better platformers, but Nintendo was better at everything else.

But since the two were enemies as far as video games are concerned, will they now clash on the screen? Not in some crazy crossover movie (which I would actually love to see), but as the games were inevitably compared, why aren’t the movies? So I set out to compare the adaptations of Mario and Sonic and see who’d come out on top.

Super Mario Bros? I raise you Sonic the Hedgehog 2.

Don’t get me wrong, SMB and STH are both good movies. Neither is great, but both are a lot of fun and go above and beyond the tasteless trash we’re being fed nowadays. But I think that while Mario could learn from the things Sonic does, Sonic 2 has already learned from its mistakes in Sonic 1.

The conundrum is as follows: one of my biggest gripes with Sonic 1 was that is could have benefitted a lot by being a goofy, animated cartoon in the style of Mario. It just would have been an older, more mature take on a slightly older, more mature hero. The other big one is that 94% of the movie was consumed with very banal-looking real-life places, and there wasn’t a lot I could point at and say “hey, that’s from the games!” There wasn’t enough fantastic stuff to keep my goopy goblin gamer brain from overheating.

Mario, by contrast, had plenty of fantastical stuff to point and marvel at. With only a brief but humorous opening in Brooklyn USA, we were transported to the Mushroom Kingdom. From there, it’s all fantastic spectacle and magic wonder until we get to the end. Plus, all of it was animated, giving it a fresh yet original take on the classic game character.

Sonic 2, however, learned from its mistakes before The Super Mario Bros. Movie (the good one, that is) even came out. It immediately started by adding a strong mixture of lore from the games (which is far more developed and serious than Mario’s) and dialed the setpiece category up to 11. Instantly, there was far more connection to the games and much more to look at and feel.

Quick analysis of how this works: the more powerful the forces in contention, the higher the stakes. This is like how in poker, no one’s tense if there’s ten bucks on the line, but as the stakes get higher and higher as more and more people drop out, people start running out of nails to chew. Adding more powerful forces (like an emerald that turns thoughts into power, a super strong dreadlocked echidna, a fox with two tales, an ancient underwater temple, and a few hundred years of interplanetary lore among other things) just heightens the stakes.. And in regards to the setpieces/animation, having more than just “Green Hills, NV) to look at helps us feel what’s at stake even more.

That’s all.


Be sure to check out my latest novel, Book 1 in the Praetors of Lost Magic Series, and our Publications page. Plus, I mean, it wouldn’t hurt to check out the Resources tab. It’s full of super helpful material and I promise it will help you out. Until then, writers!


Published by Van Ghalta

A cold, dark, mysterious character who purposefully wrote a story so that he could fit into it...A story where he himself WRITES stories, practices martial arts, blogs, plays airsoft, collects MTG trading cards, plays outdated video games, and writes weird, third-person bios for himself...

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