Sherlock Holmes a Game of Shadows was a movie I saw recently.
I went from “meh”, to “oh snap“, to “fuck yes!” during it’s roughly two-hour viewing.
Hit the jump to read if Sherlock Holmes is the right movie for you.
I honestly went into the movie with the expectation it would be a soul less popcorn-muncher. I thought that the first movie was cool, but easily forgettable. It just felt like Robert Downey Jr took his Tony Stark character from Iron Man and put him in a hat and gave him a pipe. It wasn’t bad though.
I also wasn’t crazy about Jude Law and Robert Downey’s chemistry. Once again, it wasn’t bad, but it had certainly gotten too much hype to live up to by the time I saw it.
So what happened during the sequel?
Well, it started off more or less the same. Good, but forgettable. In a sepia drenched scene Holmes tracks down Irene Adler, who was a large part of the first film only for her to be killed in the next scene, to steal a letter from her. Irene’s death was handled pretty poorly as it wasn’t even clear to me that she was dead until the end of the movie. Holmes’s character stealing the letter was even the cause of her death in the story, although Holmes hardly shows any signs of regret and nobody in the theater felt like her death had an impact. It felt as if her actress (Rachel McAdams) had other acting obligations and had to quickly be written out of the script.
Robert Downey Jr’s version of Sherlock Holmes is so annoyingly cheeky during the first half of the movie that I felt like I was watching Stewie from Family Guy. It was almost a self-parody of the character he has been playing recently. It was a bit much for my taste, but I think it will appeal to certain demographics more than others. Luckily, he tones it down half way through.
Jude Law’s character Watson played the straight man for the jokes except that any sign of witty banter between him and Holmes in the first movie is practically gone. Not a big deal as I wasn’t that impressed with his attempts in the first movie, but his character does make up for it by getting some better action sequences in this film. By the way, he gets married, although it is largely unimportant to the plot.
As a film lover, there is also a long sequence on a train that showcases Guy Ritchie’s skill with the use of quick cuts to build excitement. Story wise, it’s a scene that shows off Holmes amazing intellect and ability to foresee events through deduction. Although the end of the scene leaves you wondering “How fucking stupid of a train driver are you to keep driving after HALF of the train has blown up?!” (Highlight if you want to read the spoilers)
Holmes takes the newlywed Watson out for a stag party where Watson gambles and drinks and Holmes secretly continues his investigation of the movies villain, Dr. Moriarty, whom the letter he stole from Irene was addressed to. He then meets a gypsy by the name of Sim. My ears perked up. It was Noomi Rapace! What was she doing in this movie? Nevermind that, I was just happy to see her. What followed was a pretty exciting fight between an assassin and Holmes (It should be noted the assassin had the most conveniently placed pieces of wood under his shirt. You’ll understand what I mean if you see the movie), but it’s nothing you haven’t seen before.
In searching for Sim afterwards they come to a gypsy camp. They find out Moriarty is using gypsies to set bombs places. Blah, blah, blah, they get chased, blah, blah blah, Holmes rides a pony, blah, blah, blah, Holmes gets tricked and a bunch of politicians get… blown up… Oh snap!
This is where the movie took a turn for the better. When Holmes gets tricked and countless lives are lost due to his failure, you feel the impact of it. Badass Mr. Holmes gets knocked down a peg or two. The action picks up, Holmes and Moriarty start having physical confrontations, Watson and Colonel Sebastian Moral (a badass sniper) start their own little rivalry, and one of my favorite action sequences of the past five years happens in the woods. Trust me. You’ll know the scene in the woods when you see it.
Sherlock Holmes and Moriarty have a great “mental battle” at a peace summit followed by Holmes and Moriarty plummeting to their deaths omgwtfbbq (Highlight if you want to read spoilers) and afterwards the movie throws a clever visual joke at you, followed by a wink and a nod, and then it’s over. It left a few loose ends unresolved, such as; what happened to Colonel Sebastian Moral? what happened to Sim?
Whatever, I suppose. Maybe there will be another movie?
Anyways, overall I recommend Sherlock Holmes a Game of Shadows to anybody this holiday season. It should be a great movie to see with family or friends. If I have to give it a score, I’d give the first half a 6 for being just slightly above average, and I’d give the second half an 8.5 for having some awesome and memorable action scenes.