Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows

Nationalists are responsible for a string of bombings pushing Germany and France to the brink of war coinciding with the apparent suicide of the Prince of Austria, but Sherlock Holmes knows this is no coincidence but rather the master plan of his counterpart, the malevolent Professor Moriarty (Jared Harris). Now with Dr. Watson, who is supposed to be enjoying his stag party before his wedding, and the help of a gypsy woman (Noomi Rapace) seeking her missing brother, Holmes journeys down a dangerous path to stop Moriarty's sinister plan that will, if completed, have major consequences on the world's trajectory. Nothing really changes between Guy Ritchie's first Holmes installment and this one. The Sherlock Holmes books and movies are supposed to be cerebral works, not slam-bang actioneers, therefore making Ritchie ("Lock, Stock", "Snatch) the last director you would want manning these pictures. The nonstop action and inane slow motion forsight scenes take away any of the fun of the books or the old Basil Rathbone/Nigel Bruce movies (I've also heard the new BBC series is excellent as well). Robert Downey Jr. is to manic, and wrong for the role in the same way Ritchie is to the movie. Jude Law is closer to the mark as the dogged Watson. Noomi Rapace is underused (I wasn't too sure what her characters purpose was at all for that matter) and on a positive note, Jared Harris, an actor who I've come to admire lately, does make quite an effective Moriarty. Going back to my initial complaint about these films, if we have to, in this day and age, live with a kinetic Sherlock Holmes adaptation, couldn't they at least make it entertaining. I found myself bored stiff through large stretches of this film wishing it could have been minimized to Holmes smoking his pipe, playing the violin, and reasoning out the crime with Watson at 221B Baker Street.