Ace Ventura, Lloyd Christmas and Dr. Robotnik: three Jim Carrey characters, three sequels.
Carrey became one of the most stratospherically-successful comedy stars of the '90s with his debut as the Pet Detective, followed up by The Mask and Dumb and Dumber.
Yet, despite pumping out hit after hit – Batman Forever, The Cable Guy, Liar Liar, The Truman Show, The Grinch, Bruce Almighty and more – he's never used his talents for the benefits of a franchise cash cow.
A rhino gives birth to him in Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls, Dumb and Dumber To gets props for a great title and Carrey and Jeff Daniels clearly having the time of their lives together, and now, he's back as the blue speedster's famous nemesis in Sonic the Hedgehog 2.
Once seemingly stranded on the Mushroom Planet, Sonic's foe has somehow returned with an accomplice: a spiky-fisted, red echidna known as Knuckles.
To mark the release of the SEGA hero's big-screen sequel, UNILAD sat down with Carrey to chat about the movie (and his thoughts on Paul Dano's Riddler in The Batman).
The odds were against the first Sonic movie: its initial reveal was a disastrous catalyst for a redesign; and video game movies are often cursed, often failing to connect with fans and critics – with a few exceptions like Detective Pikachu and Silent Hill.
It defied all expectations. Releasing on the crest of the pandemic, it grossed more than $320 million (£244m) worldwide, and better than that, it was received rather well overall.
Asked why he came back, Carrey said: "Well, I really liked the effect this movie had. I liked the fact there was this big CGI craze, special-effect world – you know, the superhero movies.
"Yet, there was an innocence in the Sonic character… that kind of was a pre-teen discovery and enjoyment of life and the zeitgeist and all that stuff. I thought like there was a spark of real goodness and innocence in it."
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Carrey explained that he sees sequels as 'a function of commerce for the most part'.
"At least the two I've done, they were characters I enjoyed doing, but I did find myself almost parroting myself at that point," he continued.
"When you put 10 years between you and the last time you did it, suddenly you're going, 'How did I do that again?'... so, you're imitating your original inspiration. It was super fun with Jeff [Daniels], but I'm not a crazy sequel guy."
Beyond his brand new 'stache, Robotnik's return was an attractive prospect for Carrey. "My character gets to evolve, it’s not the same guy – it’s a whole new level of megalomania and malignant narcissism that he comes back from the Mushroom Planet with," he told UNILAD.
"Obviously he didn’t find the right mushrooms, or else he would have stayed there, but he came back guns blazing."
Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is in cinemas now.
If you have a story you want to tell, send it to UNILAD via [email protected]