So Mark and I finally watched Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows last night, and I have to be honest…I really wish we hadn’t. Before I continue, I do want to point out that this post contains spoilers, so if you have not seen it yet (and actually want to) than please, read no further.
Though Robert Downey Jr. still brings a quirky charisma to the title role, this movie falls tremendously short of its predecessor. I can’t be sure if director Guy Richie was attempting to play it safe in the follow up to the 2009 film, or if he truly believed that an empty script and less than thrilling fight scenes were actually the way to go.
It’s a shame that such a beloved franchise film could go so terribly wrong, and I fear they have made a mockery of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s most beloved creation.
What happened to Sherlock’s keen eye and deductive reasoning? His adorable awkwardness and the tell tale signs of a serious mental illness that fuels the reason behind his absurdity? What happened to the intense rivalry between Sherlock and his most worthy adversary?
What Jared Harris brings to Professor James Moriarty is both bland and one dimensional. It’s a pity that which such a large budget, Richie couldn’t have brought on an actor capable of bringing the villain to life.
I honestly thought sitting down for this movie that even if the script fell short, that the film would at least be fun…but the action sequences were difficult to watch and lacked excitement.
Even the chemistry Jude Law and Downey Jr. shared in the first film seems to have vanished.
Oh, right. I have not mentioned this chick. ^^ I honestly don’t think there was anything at all memorable about Noomi Rapace’s performance, her character, or the storyline. Actually, why was she here? She wasn’t a love interest. She didn’t really reveal anything important. Why top billing?
The film hypes up the intelligence level of Sherlock’s most famous adversary, billing him as a mathematical genius of high cunning and low conscious. The “game” he plays with Sherlock is as much a test of wits, as it is a power play though neither actor does a particularly good job of conveying that level of intelligence.
In Richie’s most pathetic attempt to force that intelligence into the script, Sherlock and Moriarty play a verbal game of chess, while Holmes reveals how he has beaten the villain. But the scene is neither intriguing nor unexpected, and fails in its purpose of making these men seem keen in any regard.
The film’s “exciting” climax was even void of intensity. I felt as if, even in the highest moment of the picture, I could have turned the movie off and never felt compelled to revisit it.
In the end, when Sherlock and his villain fall to their doom together following that terrible chess scene, it leaves viewers feeling the act more unnecessary than exciting. Watson had just walked into the room, why jump off a building when the two of them could have easily taken down Moriarty together?
In the scenes final moments, the film again fails in revealing what the viewers already knew. That Sherlock was not in fact dead. If the filmmakers are suggesting that he had some motive for faking his own death, it was not obvious to me.
All in all, I couldn’t find much to like in this sequel, which felt more like the fifth or six in the story, instead of just the second. True fans of Sherlock would do better to pull up their Netflix accounts, and watch Steven Moffat’s British version of the story. Though a modern retelling, at least the plot-lines are exciting, and the cliffhangers are epic.