Been There, Done That. Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows Review

Sherlock Holmes does a great job in being nothing special. We’ve seen A Game of Shadows before. Yes, it was called Sherlock Holmes from 2009.

Under the same famous detective written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, we find the intelligent and very observant Holmes, Robert Downey Jr., in some sort of, crap, I don’t even remember how the movie started because it’s all one big mess. Oh right, there are big bombs…in the 1890’s. Random acts of terrorism has frightened all across Europe, and tensions between France and Germany has risen as both have accused one another on the random acts of violence. Obviously, Holmes knows all of this and understands that it is not the work of any European countries, but from Professor Moriarty. Teacher at day, terrorist mastermind at night, he creates a chain of companies and organizations to create these powerful and destructive the 1890’s, to sell to these European nations so that even though war would completely annihilate the European continent, Moriarty would profit all of it considering that he would be the weapons provider for both sides. As this all unfolds, we get the Holmes and his trusty sidekick, Dr. John Watson, played by Jude Law, combo to figure out how to stop this madman and end what could be a massive European war (If they waited 20 more years, Moriarty wouldn’t have had to do anything).

Obviously, there’s more to the plot and story than the brief overview above, but that’s honestly all I could remember. The first Sherlock Holmes was a decent surprise. Obviously, the chemistry between Downey Jr. and Law is clearly what ties this movie together. Without them, there is no sequel, and likewise in the first, A Game of Shadows only works because of their ability to put a dull movie into the not-so-dull movie category. I like Guy Pearce too. He creates some great actions sets in A Game of Shadows specifically in a train and in the forest (one of the best actions scenes I’ve seen this year). But two actions scenes do not complete a movie. The problem I had with the first Sherlock Holmes is that everyone except Holmes and Watson, you don’t care about. In this one, you wish they all died. Okay, not really, but the audience has no ability to share any emotions with any of the characters on screen. Even with Holmes and Watson, we see them doing the same exact thing time after time, from either bickering and arguing or Holmes doing that crazy recollection of all the little important things he notices. If there’s one thing I hate about mysteries or twists, and this goes to all films, not just Sherlock Holmes, is that providing a twist that the audience would never have seen, is actually, not a twist at all. There needs to be some sort of evidence within the audience’s realm to make it more twisted and shocking. Pulling a rabbit out of the hat just makes us feel like we were all part of some dumb trick.

I didn’t hate this movie. Not at all. I did find myself enjoying bits and pieces of it, but my issues has nothing to do with hate. My issues is the fact that with this cast and this talented of a director, you could create something really special. But all we get is a decent action film with quick dialogue. Nothing daring, nothing new and definitely nothing special. I know I shouldn’t compare films, but I look at the Batman series by Christopher Nolan. Pearce is no Nolan, obviously, but Nolan understands that okay, I did something good with the first one, but the next chapter cannot have the same exact elements and equations or else I’ve done absolutely nothing with the characters. What are we getting in the second installment in Sherlock Holmes? Honestly, nothing. They could’ve just projected half of the first Sherlock Holmes and it’d be the same, exact thing. Instead of really trying to do push the series into a new level, all they did was try to get an easy dollar.

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows is worth: Half a Clock.  (2 1/2 stars)


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