Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (Rated PG-13)
- Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Jude Law, Jared Harris
- Directed by Guy Ritchie
- Plot: Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson team up to defeat their greatest adversary, Professor Moriarty.
I know the original Sherlock Holmes made a ton of money, and I’m sure this sequel will as well, but it’s time to say it. I’m still waiting for a Sherlock Holmes movie. While I appreciate the buddy cop aspects of Guy Ritchie’s take on Holmes and Watson, I grew up watching the old Sherlock Holmes movies with Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce as the esteemed detective and his scholarly friend. I felt the same way walking out of this new film as I did the 2009 original – it just wasn’t a Sherlock Holmes film.
The story in the sequel had more potential since it brings in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s classic villain, Professor Moriarty. Holmes (Downey) and Watson (Law) must play along with the game Moriarty (Harris) has set in motion if they hope to stop him. Unfortunately, what should have been a chess match between two brilliant minds gets lost in action sequence after action sequence. It’s not until the conclusion that the film finally seems to understand and capture the rivalry between Holmes and Moriarty. If the entire movie had been like the last fifteen minutes, it would have been a much better film.
The primary problem for me lies in Guy Ritchie’s direction and cinematic choices. From tedious slow motion effects, the movie then jumps into fast-paced, frenetic cuts. At times, I found myself struggling to follow the action sequences. And there are a lot of action sequences. Ritchie seems to not understand that Holmes was in intellectual and has him rely far too much on his physical prowess. Several action scenes could have been cut from the 129 minute running time, and it would have been a tighter and better film.
My other problem with the movie is the cinematography. The movies are also so dreary and washed out, I find myself yearning for a bit of color or at least go take the film to a full-blown black & white to give the movie some contrast. While the movie has some amazing visuals, by the end of the film, I’m ready for a Prozac infusion.
The one bright spot of the films is in the brilliant casting. Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law are two of the most versatile actors of their generation and both bring an amazing amount of talent to the film. The addition of Jared Harris as Moriarty add to the casting as he plays the role near perfectly and is a wonderful nemesis for Downey’s Holmes.
Kelly Reilly returns as Watson’s bride and Rachel McAdams returns as Irene – she’s basically to Holmes what Catwoman is to Batman. A frenemy? The real female star of the film is Noomi Rapace though. She does a decent job here, but she was far more interesting in the original “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.”
I’m sure I’ll probably be in the minority on this; but these movies, despite the casting, ultimately fail to engage me. When I want to watch Sherlock Holmes, I’ll stick with the classic films on Netflix or the brilliant BBC series, Sherlock (2010) starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman in an updated take on the classic character.
Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows is rated PG-13 for intense violence and action and drug content.
Sherlock Holmes is playing in the Ames area at the Cinemark Movies 12 theater. Showtimes can be located at Cinemark.com. Don’t live near Ames? Fandango.com has theaters and showtimes in your area.