The Twenty-First Century

Sherlock Holmes: A Game Of Shadows [2011]

Unless moviegoers themselves are willing to shoulder some of the blame, it’s useless to try and figure out why “Sherlock Holmes 2” is so disappointing. The film only exists because, after the surprisingly good 2009 movie, its studio demanded a sequel. And if their instincts were correct, people will run to see it this weekend. If your only arbiter of success is money earned, then the film will probably be considered a hit. If you factor quality into the equation, forget about it. It seems that Sherlock Homes has caught lightning in a bottle, which usually is a one time occurrence. But that hasn’t stopped director Guy Ritchie from trying to replicate the setup and the success of the first movie. But the sparks are gone, and so is the freshness. I still admire Robert Downey Jr., who reprises his role as the famous detective. This time around, Dr. Watson (Jude Law) is getting married, but Holmes is convinced that a revered professor named Moriarty (Jared Harris) is committing terrorist acts around the world with the intention to start a world war. Soon enough, he will learn that Moriarty is just as smart, brilliant and crazy as he is. Well maybe a bit more crazy, but you get the picture.

Downey Jr. is still the best thing about this series; His relationship (or partnership) with Watson is the glue that holds this mess of a sequel together. Their scenes together literally save it from being a complete waste of time. But even so, nothing could have prepared me for the second part of the film, which turns into a gigantic action scene, with no letup. Some might consider it impressive. I thought it was merciless. And by the end of the picture I was exhausted, not exhilarated. “A Game Of Shadows” drained me. Part of the fun in this kind of story is feeling that you— the viewer—are partaking in the venture yourself. I never felt that way watching this film, which is especially odd since I enjoyed the first one a lot. Instead, I felt a curious remove.  I know the ending leaves the door open for yet another sequel, but unless Guy Ritchie is willing to bring back the freshness of the first film, I suggest they pull the plug on Holmes once and for all. Damn shame.

Rating: 2/4

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