Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows

January 9, 2012

The first "Sherlock Holmes" movie was an unexpectedly great one. Before I watched that film, I did not think Robert Downey, Jr. could ever be acceptable as Sherlock Holmes. However, after watching that one, I admit that I was mistaken. Therefore, despite the unpromising trailer for this second installment of this franchise, I still went on to watch it, expecting this to exceed the action and humor of the first.

However, things did not really go very well in this sequel for me. The process of Holmes anticipating the next moves of his enemies in fights which was so innovative in the first, felt tedious in this one. I felt Guy Richie delved too much into close-ups and slow mo effects, fight scenes and explosions to hide the material deficiency of the script. This movie had more flourish than there was substance. 

For the actors, only Jude Law for me played his character Dr. Watson as I would expect. Robert Downey, Jr. was NOT Sherlock in most of his scenes! Sherlock would never go drag and almost flirt with Watson the way it was played out here. I did not like it. The gypsy character of Noomi Rapace was quite unnecessary it seemed, just an excuse to have a new female character. The eccentric character of Sherlock's brother Mycroft as played by Stephen Fry was teetering on annoying. The very laid back way Jared Harris played Holmes' arch-enemy Professor Moriarty lacked palpable passion and life opposite Downey's hyper-acting. 

Overall, except for a well-written cerebral confrontation scene between Holmes and Moriarty towards the end where they verbalized their moves as it be in a chess game, the rest of this sequel was a big disappointment for me. Hints of charm like the first movie were still evident in certain scenes, but the whole was not very satisfying, especially for traditional fans of the Sherlock Holmes books. Making Sherlock overly buffoonish is definitely NOT the way to make him click for this new generation. I think Richie and Downey have got to reassess the way they bring Sherlock to life, if they are thinking of a third installment.

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