Cinema Monolith

Reviews of movies from my giant DVD tower, and more.

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows

Cinema Monolith: 4/10 Film Reel
IMDb: 7.5/10
The Arizona Republic: *** out of 5

Released on December 16, 2011
Rated PG-13
129 minutes

Directed by Guy Ritchie

Written by Michele Mulroney and Kieran Mulroney

Cast: Robert Downey Jr, Jude Law, Noomi Rapace, Jared Harris, Stephen Fry, Kelly Reilly, Rachel McAdams, Eddie Marsan, Geraldine James, Paul Anderson, Joe Egan, Clive Russell, Wolf Kahler

Here we go again! Sherlock Bourne returns to 1800s London to deliver yet another amped-up take on the classic literary detective, and unfortunately he drags all of us with him in the process. Guy Ritchie was back as well, directing with an attitude of style over substance, and stuck with a story that seemed to be more interested in showcasing Holmes’ constant witticisms and superhuman (and prochronistic) martial arts skills than anything else. Which again was unfortunate.

And though these particulars may be acceptable to most audiences, for me they just didn’t fly. This film was just so busy, and I found myself perking up from the noisy banality only when the scenes were quiet and thoughtful, and when they concentrated on the cerebral aspect of the Holmes persona, instead of the overbearing set pieces the filmmakers seemed to delight in most. And as far as the look, tone, hip banter, hyperactivity, and ungodly length of this sequel went, it was basically a mirror image of the Ritchie-helmed Sherlock Holmes, released two years earlier.

This time, Holmes and Watson go up against their greatest foe, Professor Moriarty, who plans to bomb a peace summit being held between Germany and France; Holmes hopes to thwart him, and of course save the planet. In between, Holmes attends Watson’s bachelor party, meets a gypsy fortune-teller, and fights the assassin sent to kill her; Watson, meanwhile, leaves Holmes’ employ and goes on what he hopes is a peaceful honeymoon with his new bride. Holmes, not surprisingly, foils those plans as well. And on and on it goes.

Noomi Rapace held my interest quite well here as the gypsy woman, as did Jared Harris as Moriarty, and again the locations and set design were to be commended, but like before, I couldn’t have cared less about the rest. And as these types of films seem to go, the characters took too many risky chances and came out unscathed, their actions stretching logic and reality to the snapping point. For example, I would never, ever throw my trusting friend’s wife off a moving train, from a towering bridge, and into what I could only guess was a deep-enough river, and expect her to come out with nothing less than crippling injuries and traumatic brain damage. I mean, c’mon!

But am I being too hard on it? It was definitely more lighthearted and comic than its predecessor, and I’m guessing Downey Jr’s portrayal is considered quite whimsical by most, but in my eyes, it’s hardly what Sir Arthur Conan Doyle had in mind when he wrote the character over one hundred years ago. To me, it was just so annoyingly, frustratingly, and hopelessly overblown. Yet, after all that, why do I reward this second installment with an extra star rating over the first? Well, with this one, I didn’t fall asleep as quickly and as often as I did with the other.  (4/10)

2 comments on “Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows

  1. These films make me hunger for a Basil Rathbone film festival. Nuff said. Lol

    • Todd B
      1/10/18

      Shoot, I’d even take a Basil Poledouris film festival if it meant not having to watch these two movies ever again!

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