Sound sequel but nothing special my dear Holmes

An elementary three out of a possible six stars for Sherlock Holms: A Game of Shadows

It’s my last review of 2011 and wouldn’t you know it, it’s been one of the hardest to put into words. Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows is not a good movie but yet very entertaining. It has many good things, but they simply don’t add up.

Set in 1891, Europe is in chaos as a rash of assassinations and bombings threaten to take France and Germany into war. Sherlock Holmes (Downey Jr) is convinced that the growing unrest has been orchestrated by the ‘Napoleon of crime’, Professor James Moriarty (Harris). But by dedicating himself to the defeat of his arch-enemy, Holmes has not only put himself in danger but also his friends. Not only does his girlfriend-rival Irene Adler (Rachel McAdams in a short cameo) suffer at Moriarty’s hands, but Dr Watson (Law) and his new wife Mary (Reilly) become targets. In the process of struggling to keep his friends safe, Holmes must recruit a gypsy woman (Rapace) and enlist the aid of his politically connected brother Mycroft (Fry), and unravel a mystery that could have earth-shattering ramifications.

Downey Jr brings exuberance to the character, but sometimes should have been reined in a bit by his director. And Ritchie gives you what you expect: lots of action, fight scenes and raw adrenaline chopped up and slowed down depending upon his mood on the day he was editing. He also has an excellent ear for soundtrack and the sets of old world London and Paris are very, very good.

Downey Jr and Law continue to have such an easy way between them, but, while there was a simmering undercurrent of bromance in the first movie, this second one feels a bit more forced than the original.

Ritchie does his best to once again linger just long enough on those things important to Holmes in cracking the case (and for those a little slower, it is all pieced together for you near the end of the film). It’s simply a matter of whether we the viewer can spot these things and put it all together at the speed that Holmes does!

And yet, with all these positives, I can’t seem to be able to offer more than a middling grade. There just isn’t anything to really bring it all together, but you’ll still have fun with this one.

Sherlock Holms: A Game of Shadows

Dir. Guy Ritchie. US action, 2011, 129 mins; Robert Downey Jr, Jude Law, Noomi Rapace, Jared Harris, Kelly Reilly, Stephen Fry

Premieres December 25




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