Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Game of Shadows is Entertaining but Lacks the Drive and Wit of the First Film

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (2 1/2 out of 5 Stars)
Directed by Guy Ritchie (Sherlock Holmes, Snatch, Rock N Rolla)
Written by Michele and Kieran Mulroney (Paper Man)
Starring Robert Downey Jr., Jude Law, Jared Harris and Noomi Rapace

While watching the first film, I know I asked myself the question, why isn't Sherlock Holmes facing his mortal enemy Professor Moriarty?  Well the team behind this film series including Guy Ritchie planned for this to be successful and did not want to delve into the rivalry right away.  Smart move!  The first film set up the second, and made audiences excited to see the rivalry play out.  The big question is was the pay off worth the wait, I would say somewhat.

The background of Game of Shadows centers around 1893 Europe, and the tension rising between France and Germany.  Holmes (Robert Downey Jr.) believes that Moriarty (Jarred Harris) is at the center of the tension between these two countries and Holmes with his trusty sidekick Dr. Watson (Jude Law) are on the case to prevent Moriarty from sending the World into the first World War.

While Ritchie knows how to pack a punch with slow motion action sequences, they almost become stylistically obnoxious.  The problem with this film is that while yes it was entertaining and funny it loses the center of gravity from the first film.  Holmes going on adventures in other countries was fun, but I missed his bantering with Chief of Scotland Yard, and the way that the cases did not have take him on such a grand scale adventure.  I have not read all of Conan Doyle's books, but in the few that I have I love that Holmes mysteries brought out the great character, while this film just seems to want to bring explosions.

Law and Downey Jr. have great chemistry, and I am glad they kept the homoerotic undertones of their relationship.  This to me is one of the best parts about how the writing explores their characters.  Harris was a solid Moriarty, and I appreciate that they did not go over the top with him.  Rapace was merely window dressing to this entirely male driven story.  The real beauty of this film is the art direction and the way Niall Moroney and her team construct the beautiful scenery. This film provided some laughs and entertainment, but was a letdown from the first film.

No comments: