By: Lawrence Foster Rating: 7 out of 10
Director Guy Ritchie and writers Michele Mulroney and Kieran Mulroney took that saying to heart with “Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows.” — for better and worse.
Essentially, if you enjoyed the first Sherlock flick, you will enjoy the sequel. If you were one of the viewers who got turned off by a convoluted plot or suffered from Robert Downey Jr’s. fatigue, steer clear of “Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows” (GOS). The sequel does everything the first movie did, but on a grander stage.
I, for one, thoroughly enjoyed the portrayal of the world’s greatest detective and his sidekick Dr. Watson (Jude Law).
As noted above, GOS has a plot that is nearly impossible to follow and is there only to move the action along. The bare-bones plot synopsis is that Sherlock (Downey Jr.) once again teams up with Watson in an attempt to bring down the one person who is on the same intellectual stage as Holmes, Professor James Moriarty (Jared Harris).
What makes Moriarty a bad guy? Does it even matter? To answer the latter first, it really doesn’t matter. The audience is supposed to dislike Moriarty because Holmes does and that’s about it. As for what makes the professor bad, that takes a while to answer. Eventually we do find out what Moriarty was after and his motive was a dud and a bit “bad guy cliche.” For someone with Moriarty’s intellect, connections and power, I would have liked a different reason for his dark side.
As I said above, however, the plot is not the reason I and other film goers enjoy the Sherlock Holmes franchise. The real draw is watching Downey Jr. and Law interact. The chemistry that these two seasoned and talented actors have is remarkable. They play off each other and for as good as Downey Jr. portrays Holmes, the star of the show is Law.
Even though the Holmes/Watson connection is what makes GOS enjoyable, the relationship isn’t without its blemishes. My main complaint is with Holmes’ character. I understand that the great detective is a bit reclusive, but the fact that he forgot about or just didn’t care about putting together his best, and only, friend’s stag party is too much. At points throughout the film I found myself trying to figure out why Watson puts up with Holmes in what seemingly is a one-sided relationship. That is a minor complaint, but one I hope is addressed in any future installments.
“Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows” is a bigger and better version of the first movie, which is good or bad depending on your point of view. For those who skip to the end to see my final take on the movie, I will make it very simple for you: If you liked the first Sherlock movie, watch this one. If you loathed the 2009 film, skip this one. Happy Holidays everyone!