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The Sonic movies should mature with their audience.

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Since Shadow got confirmed for the third movie obviously, this is something I wanted to bring up.
So, as we all know, the Harry Potter movies got somewhat darker as they went on. This was because their audience was maturing along with the movies, so it was a logical choice. I kind of want Paramount to do something similar with Sonic. Obviously, don't go full on grim dark, since that obviously hasn't gone well for Sonic before. But as the films continue on, maybe go in a slightly more serious direction. Jokes are obviously still allowed, but I would prefer them not to throw in so many pop culture and trendy references.
That is basically what I want out of this franchise.

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While you already touched on it, I think it's important to reiterate that "dark" does not inherently equal "mature."

Let's compare Shadow the Hedgehog to, say, Sonic Unleashed. Shadow was pretty dark by Sonic standards, but it felt like it was trying too hard - like it was made to appeal to children's idea of what a "dark story" is. Unleashed is a much more lighthearted game, with plenty of jokes both from the heroes (mostly slapstick gags from Chip) and the villains. But I feel like it had more to say than ShtH did, with some genuinely heartfelt moments that truly felt earned by the end of the game.

And I think that's the kind of "maturity" we need from the Sonic movie series. Not necessarily darker, but more sincere, more emotional, more character-driven. I think Sonic 2 arguably already had more of that than Sonic 1 did, with its parallels between Sonic and Knuckles' parental loss and their desire to live up to their purpose. I think if they can keep that level of sincerity up in the third movie, we're in good shape.

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I also want the Sonic movies to mature a bit too, however I do think it's starting to go in that direction with Sonic 2.  In Sonic 2, we have a deeper theme about what it means to be a hero, while in the first film, it was the importance of friendship.  Also, Sonic and Robotnik's rivalry is taken a bit more seriously in the second movie than the first and Sonic and Knuckles have a very complex relationship with each other as they both lost people that they cared about but both dealt with these issues in different ways.  The only thing that could prevent the future movies from maturing is the constant jokes and pop culture references.  If they toned those down in the third movie, we might have a deeper story in the third movie than in the previous two movies.  Also, one of the writers stated that Sonic will have a harder time trying to convince Shadow to do good since Shadow's issues are much more complex.  So, that shows that it's possible that the third movie might be the deepest movie out of the trilogy so far.

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