movies: sherlock holmes and the game of shadows

a game of shadowsI don't specifically remember what my thoughts were on the first Sherlock Holmes movie (I'll go back and read my review later), other than the fact that I enjoyed it.

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows continues in the same vein.

Although I have a feeling there is a hell of a lot more of things blowing up in this one.

And Robert Downey Jr seems to play a much more manic version of Holmes at times.

Given that the plot doesn't constrain them to London but allows them to wander through Europe it also allows Jude Law to loosen the tight lacing on Watson somewhat.

Essentially it's Law and Downey Jr's chemistry that makes the movie what it is... breathing life into their very flawed relationship (which feels a lot like the relationship between House and Wilson on House... and just as a brief sidenote, I don't think that it was any kind of accident that House and Holmes and Watson and Wilson are quite similar names).

I do feel like it may have been worth seeing the original before I attempted this one... there are some details at the beginning that bafffled me a bit because I've only seen the previous movie once... and that was two years ago. But you could still probably enjoy this one without having seen the previous one.

I was a little disappointed in Jared Harris as Moriarty. He just seems a bit... generic... and the big reveal of the character's face in the first part of the movie is very much a "Yes, and?" kind of moment. Maybe it's just that he suffers by comparison next to both Downey Jr and Law, but also because the ever lovely Stephen Fry is playing Sherlock's brother Mycroft... so poor Harris can't seem to summon up very much screen presence/charisma next to the three of them. It's not really his fault, but it's one of those times when I think the role could probably have done with a "name".

Noomi Rapace is capable enough in what feels a little like a version of the Rachel McAdams role from the previous movie (not that McAdams doesn't appear briefly at the beginning of the movie)... but the character really doesn't get to DO a hell of a lot.

Essentially a lot of the movie really is just there to service the relationship between Holmes and Watson and the chemistry between Downey Jr and Law. Which isn't really a bad thing.

Once again they play fast and loose with the speed of the film, and the frame rate... speeding up, slowing down, making things seem much less smooth than they otherwise would (actually there's a whole sequence where they're running through a forest that reminded me of a very similar scene in the first half of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows). From time to time it gets distracting, but I think perhaps it's supposed to give the audience a taste of living in Sherlock's head. Rapace's character asks him at one point what he sees... his answer is "everything". And with the rather chaotic visuals that accompany the statement makes me think that perhaps the visual style is supposed to reflect how Holmes sees things.

It did cause me to miss a couple of "major" plot points, but I also know that with this particular kind of movie, everything is eventually explained as part of the big "oh aren't I a clever sausage" reveal at the end, so I didn't miss out on anything completely.

Speaking of the reveal... without giving too much away, I did really like the way that they presented a large chunk of the final confrontation between Holmes and Moriarty... the ultimate chess game that just keeps being ratcheted up until it's not even about chess any more and takes place in a look.

But my favourite sequence is probably the train...

Ultimately the second Sherlock movie comes down to two things... a lot of explosions but also a smarter movie than you might otherwise have thought.

yani's rating: 3 honeymoons in Brighton out of 5

1 comment:

buddy2blogger said...

Nice review of the movie!

As you mentioned, the movie is quite action-packed. May be, way too action to be a Sherlock Holmes movie :)

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