Sherlock Holmes plays his shadowy game with the best of them
Any of you out there watch "House M.D."? It's hardly a well-kept secret that the House/Wilson relationship is largely based on the Holmes/Watson relationship. House has a Vicodin habit while Holmes routinely takes opium to counteract his boredom. And they both have a keen understanding of how the world works and yet have a hard time actually fitting into it.
(I also find it interesting how much Robert Downey Jr.'s Holmes begins to appear like House himself, with the constant three-day-stubble on his face.)
I understand the complaints that some people have that the Guy Ritchie take Holmes is more Jason Bourne than private eye. The way I see it, even in the stories, Holmes didn't really have a problem rolling up his sleeves and getting physical when he had to. He was basically the intellectual version of an action hero for his day. I see Ritchie's version as a fun extrapolation of that concept for a modern audience.
And it really is fun.
Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows follows on the heels of 2009's Sherlock Holmes. Watson (Jude Law) is in final preparations for his wedding and Holmes has become involved in a long-distance battle of wits with Professor James Moriarty (Jared Harris) who was strongly hinted at at the end of the previous movie.
There have been a series of bombings that the police are happy to label random terrorist attacks. Holmes, however, is insistent that there is a more devious and controlling hand behind it all.
Personally, I love the movie, but I would have to admit that some of Guy Ritchie's directorial decisions might rub some the wrong way.
Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows trailer
His action sequences keep jumping around and slowing down almost at random. It's an interesting visual effect, but it does break up the action a bit.
When Holmes sees a series of clues and deduces what has happened, we're given a quick sequence of confusing shots that flash by so fast that we barely have time to realize what just happened. They could be showing shots from The Mikado for all we know.
Personally, I'm very intrigued by these things, but they can be off-putting.
I was also pleased by the inclusion in the story of Mycroft (Stephen Fry). For those out there who haven't read the stories, Mycroft is the elder brother of Sherlock Holmes. He's even more formidable in his powers of deduction than Sherlock, but on the other side of the coin, he also has a harder time living in the real world. He has no ambition. Not even a desire to prove his theories correct.
Think Adrian's brother Ambrose on Monk.
And Fry is an interesting addition to the cast. My only issue is really one scene where his attire leaves ... everything to be desired.
This one gets a 7 / 10. (I would rank it higher for myself, but it does suffer from a few directorial decisions that I recognize as maybe a bit too experimental for some.)
Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows is rated PG-13 for action violence, nudity involving one particular Holmes brother, and some drug use.