Sonic the Hedgehog 2 marks a rare departure for Jim Carrey, who broke one of his own rules to make it. The 60-year-old actor has been one of Hollywood’s biggest stars for nearly 30 years, playing some colorful and eccentric characters. His latest role, as the video game villain Dr. Ivo Robotnik in Sonic 2, is one of the rare times where he reprised a character in a sequel. And that’s how he likes it.
In an interview with ComicBook.com, Jim Carrey revealed that he doesn’t like doing sequels, as he believes they are rarely as good or better than the original film. It’s a refreshing opinion in an industry that thrives on reboots, rehashes, and sequels that end up disappointing audiences most of the time. When asked about his take on sequels, his response revealed a lot about his strategy when choosing films.
I don’t have any in mind that I would like to. Most of the time when you make something that really hits with people, the sequels have a diminishing return. If you do it long enough after the fact, you’re kind of imitating yourself now; you’re not using your original inspiration. These [Sonic] movies were made close together, and they were like an evolution that was being planned in my own head, at least, from the get-go.Jim Carrey
Jim Carrey has made a handful of sequels in his career, and while many were successful, they aren’t exactly the high points of his career. That includes 1995’s Batman Forever, where he played The Riddler. Although the film was a box office smash, and his performance was generally well-received, critics panned Joel Schumacher’s neon-colored, campy take on the Caped Crusader. Fans just hated the Bat Nipples. Although it was a sequel, it was Carrey’s first time in the role, and the response to the film made his return a moot point.
His other sequels, including Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls and Dumb And Dumber To, were critical bombs. That likely was the reason Carrey has shied away from doing more sequels, but he made an exception for Sonic 2. His role in the first film, while a highlight of the movie, left fans wanting more. Jim Carrey understood this, and used the opportunity to expand the comedic potential of the character just two years after the first was released.
Part of the reason for Carrey’s success over his 40-plus year career is the fact that he refused to get pinned down by sequels and took risks with original roles. That led to winning two Golden Globes for acting in consecutive years, for 1998’s The Truman Show and 1999’s Man on the Moon. His pickiness also led to sequels for two of his most popular movies, The Mask and Bruce Almighty, having to recast the lead. Both films were critical and financial bombs, and it’s doubtful even the presence of Jim Carrey could have saved them.
His later choices were for unique roles in films like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events. His attempt to join yet another franchise sequel, Kick Ass 2, was yet another bomb, and his performance didn’t fare much better. That’s why it was a surprise that Jim Carrey chose to play Dr. Robotnik in Lionsgate’s Sonic the Hedgehog, as video game movies rarely impress critics or moviegoers.
The movie itself suffered fan backlash before it ever opened, thanks to a ridiculous character design for Sonic that looked nothing like the video game character. The producers corrected Sonic’s design in time for the release and cranked out a smash hit, with Carrey’s comedic take a big reason why. While there is talk about a third Sonic film already, it is not clear if Jim Carrey will appear in it. The actor recently announced that Sonic 2 was likely his last film, as he was “fairly serious” about retiring. The fan response to Sonic, Tails, Knuckles, and Dr. Robotnik, however, might entice him to slap on his villainous mustache once more.