Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Review: Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (2011)

“You know, he's nothing like as slow witted as you've been leading me to believe, Sherly.”

Director: Guy Ritchie
Actors: Robert Downey Jr, Jude Law, Jared Harris, Stephen Fry, Noomi Rapace
Writers: Michele Mulroney & Kieran Mulroney

When I watched the first Guy Ritchie, Sherlock Holmes movie I left entertained but wasn’t chomping at the bit for more. Hell when BBC did its updated version of Sherlock Holmes I kind of forgot all about this movie as that was far superior. But I must admit with the announcing of two cast members I started to get a little excited. So let’s take a look and see if this movie is any good.

Hearing that Stephen Fry was cast as Mycroft Holmes and Jared Harris as Moriarty I was pretty excited. Harris is a great character actor and I really enjoyed his work in Fringe. As Moriarty he made me believe that this was the man that could match and in some cases beat Sherlock Holmes. There is a particular scene where he really manages to bring an intense display of menace. Stephen Fry is perfect as Mycroft and my biggest disappointment was that he wasn’t in the movie enough. As for the other newbie Noomi Rapace, she wasn’t given much to do. Weirdly her character was important to the plot, yet it’s treated as such a second hand thought sometimes.

Both Robert Downey Jr and Jude Law are comfortable in their roles and have a good buddy partnership. At times it almost seems like Sherlock loves Watson, with Sherlock seeming off put that Watson is getting married. It does add an interesting dimension, but I was far more into the interplay of Sherlock and Moriarty. Considering what the first movie did to develop the relationship, this was just going over old territory and could have been ditched to develop Sherlock and Moriarty.

Visually the movie has the normal Guy Ritchie stamp, and it really does culminate in a wonderful chase through a forest. After that things slow down a little, but I think it does lead to a finale between Sherlock and Moriarty which is satisfying. A few complaints were levelled at the Holmes vision in the last movie, while it returns in this movie, it is toned down and it still offers an interesting look into the mind of Homes.

Story wise is where it starts falling apart for this movie, while still very entertaining it does stop the movie from ever truly excelling. First off the Simza (Rapace) story line just doesn’t really work, as the entire things seems forced and just an excuse to put a female in the movie. Moriarty’s plan is interesting but for all the build up from Holmes it doesn’t really live up to the hype. Finally we come to the final one minute of the film. Of course I’m not going to spoil it but it pissed me off. I thought we were getting a perfect ending, or at least one that befits a Holmes tale that has Moriarty, and yet it really doesn’t follow through.

Overall the movie is an enjoyable romp, and I liked it far more than the first one. Fans of the first movie should enjoy this; even new comers should be able to pick things up quick as it does offer a good adventure during this time of year. But it never becomes a classic thanks to its writing, but then again popcorn movies can be a great piece of escapism.

1 comment:

  1. Nice review of the movie!

    However, it is too action-oriented for my Sherlockian tastes ;)