Jun 4, 2012

[Movies] Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (2011)

So apparently the good detective Sherlock Holmes was recently named by the folks behind the Guinness Book of World Records as being the most portrayed human literary character across both movies and television. This is somewhat an achievement when you really think about it since we never seem to tire of seeing this man solve crimes and mysteries primarily with just the power of his mind and his discerning intellect. Good job, old chap!

And so the irony is not entirely lost on my that we finally got around to watching this particular adaptation recently, although it's actually a sequel.

Now I have to admit that I really enjoyed the 2009 movie that preceded this one and so I was relatively excited when news of a sequel broke out. And the trailer seemed fun enough, although a lot of it involved slow-motion action sequences, which did concern me just a wee bit. But then I figured I was probably being paranoid and perhaps this sequel will live up to the hype of its predecessor.

Or maybe not.

Synopsis: Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows is the 2011 sequel to the 2009 Sherlock Holmes movie also directed by Guy Ritchie. The screenplay was written by Kieran Mulroney and Michele Mulroney. It is said that the movie was a very, very loose adaptation of the popular Sherlock Holmes mystery "The Final Problem".

We start with Irene Adler (Rachle McAdams) up to her old tricks in a bit of action that involves a delivery, an explosive device and Sherlock Holmes (Robert Downey, Jr.) Her tale later involves one Professor Moriarty (Jared Harris of Fringe infamy) with rather tragic results.

(Image credit: Getty Images via @daylife)
Meanwhile a soon to be married Dr. Watson (Jude Law) and when he opts to visit his friend Sherlock, he is surprised to see an elaborate diagram detailing Sherlock's current investigation. And how these various isolated murders, terrorist attacks and other transactions connect to one another takes a rather large leap in logic. Still, he tries to pursue his investigation despite Watson's statements about not getting involved and just wanting to focus on his wedding. Thus the action continues on even at Watson's supposed stag party, which turns out to be another excuse for Holmes to further his investigation and determine the original recipient for the letter that had been sent by Ms. Adler.

When I had reviewed the first movie, I had mentioned that one of the nice thing about it was the interesting mix of action and investigative moments in order to create a decent story. This time around that delicate balance was not achieved and instead we got a heck of a lot of weird action sequences (many of them involving way too many guns) and a heck of a lot of slow-motion sequences that didn't really add much value.

But let's not leave that topic just yet. In the first movie the slow motion moments were there to highlight the unique and very quick manner of thinking that Sherlock demonstrates that helps explain his unique deductive abilities. Here more often than not they were used for showing his analysis during fight sequences while he goes on about cooking an omelet. Really.

The supporting cast also didn't have all that much to do this time around. Jude Law was terribly underutilized - something we can blame more on the writing than anything else. And the gypsy character played by Noomie Rapace was a very weird addition to the story and I don't quit get why they had to rely on her for most of the movie. Thus the performances continued to fall flat and instead of acting we just watched them in slow motion as if that was meaningful.

Overall, the story just didn't feel as fun or quite as engaging, to be more frank about things. The movie didn't really do well in terms of trying to hook the viewer and reel them in wanting more. Instead a lot of it felt rather confusing with the rest of it seeming to just want to show off Ritchie's supposed artistic vision. In the end if felt like he was trying way too hard.

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows sadly fell short of my expectation, even for "just" a sequel to another movie. Or perhaps the BBC Sherlock series just spoiled me too much. Thus we rate the movie 2 strangely advanced guns out of a possible 5 and leave things at that.

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