Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows

Get out your pipes and steampunks we're revewing Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Thrones! SHADOWS! It's a game of shadows we are reviewing.
Hey, we were all thinking it. This just needed to be done.
The second installment of the Roberty Downy Jr. Steampunk kung-fu Sherlock Holmes is about as much fun as the first one. If you enjoyed that you should fairly enjoy this.

With Watson(Jude Law) now married, the great Sherlock Holmes(Robert Downy Jr.) is now getting restless in his adventures as he closes in on his nemesis, Professor Moriarty. When Watson is dragged back into the case, they both have to act quickly to stop the manical genius from enacting his grand evil schemes!

Whether you will like this movie is really a question of if you enjoy Robert Downy Jr. and this portrayal of Sherlock Holmes. I enjoy it myself, but I can't help the feeling that it is more similar to House than the original Sherlock.  They both play off of the same type of Sherlock: an unlikable jerk who's obbsessed with crazier and crazier things, perfers being alone, makes cynical quips to cover up for his actual good heart, and has a possiblity of being attracted to his male counterpart. Seriously, it's hard to tell if they were joking here or if they were actually implying the possiblilty that he was gay.  It's just kind of weird what they do with the character, playing off the popularity of the 'bromance' they have these days.

Jude Law is great as Watson and really the best part are Homes and Watson's little relationship tiffs. Jared Harris pulls a terrifyingly subtle Moriarty, though I can't help the thought I would have preferred Anthony Stuart Head. Moriarty's interactions with Holmes are almost as fun as Watson's and Holme's.  Do you think this whole plot is just so Moriarty can steal Holmes away from Watson?! Maybe that's why he's always trying to kill Watson! Help me out here, fanfic writers.

Actionwise, everything is very dirty, fighty and explodey.  With lots of guns. Sherlock does his pattened Sherlock Vision™ more than a few times and it somewhat wears thin.  Sometimes I'd rather just have Sherlock give a wink and a nod and see him working it out rather than having them explicitly show us every little thing. The action scenes are intense, but there are times when I think they take it too far. There is one sequence that includes slo-mo, bullets, cannon fire and and those weird cameras that are attached to actors bodies while they run, and it gives off the vibe that I'm being violated in my eye sockets.  It's just too much for my pretty little head.

I thought the ending was a bit anticlimactic. In another movie, in which Holmes was a thinker and not a gun toting kung-fu master, it would fit, but not with what they've so far been leading up to. Half an hour earlier they had a scene in which Watson fires a giant cannon that literally brings down a house on top of a house that Holmes is being tortured in, and I was fairly certain that was the ending, except the movie keeps going.  If you want to end with a battle of wits, you need to lead up with wits, not explodey guns.

Points have to be given for the atmosphere they set up. It's the kind of dirty messy but still pretty steampunk world that you'd want to play an MMO in, but would be afraid of actually living in. And Han Zimmer's score that accompanies it, which caries many of the themes and melodies of the first film, is just as fun and catchy here. I think they improve on it by adding the fast paced gypsy themes. In fact, I liked it so much I made it one of my 10 favorite soundtracks of 2011!

The jokes were funny and the action is entertaining, and Noomi Price is a welcomed addition. I can't say it's better than the first one, even though Jarred Harris did a nice job as Moriarty, but it was a fun movie nonetheless.

THE GOOD: Robert Downy Jr, cool environment, funny, nice action
THE BAD: Not as good as the first, ending is anti-climactic, sometimes over the top action, only if you like this version of Sherlock.
OVERALL: It's fun but not amazing.
MOVIES LIEK IT: Any other incarnation of Sherlock Holmes, the recent steampunk three muskateers, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang(if you like Downy), League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, House
ONE SCENE METAPHOR: When Holmes goes to see the fortune teller Noomi, he stops a russian assassin with his Sherlock Vision ™.  There's a whole chase sequence, and Nooomi throws some daggers at the assassin, which do nothing becuase apparently he decided to wear his wooden shirt that day.  It's a fun sequence but, really? Wooden armor? Who would wear that? And then the fight's over when the assassin is tricked into jumping into water, because apparently this is a videogame and assassins can't swim.


  1. Watson & Holmes have a Bromance, and any good Bromance is always threatened by the addition of a woman. I know you don't do spoilers so I will refrain from ranting about his loss at the beginning of the movie. I think it shows a lot about who he is as a person, the way he handles loss, and why he clings to Watson so desperately. As far as Moriarty trying to muscle out Watson, it's like the new friend invading in existing friendship, only you're dealing with highly intelligent players with unstable emotional circumstances. (Holmes and Moriarty, not Watson.) The super smart kid in the class with no friends doesn't usually walk up to a game of basketball going on and ask if he can play, too. He usually sneaks off while no one is looking to destroy the ball in secret so that no one can play and he has more control over the field.

    Frankly, I love RDJ. He is my secret asshole crush, and I would gladly endure an emotionally abusive relationship with the likes of him as long as I can ravage his arrogant, full-of-himself sexiness for the rest of my days...But I digress.

    I liked the second movie a lot, but I enjoyed the first one more. If it were any other combination of actors in the lead, I may nit-pick a lot more about the plot, the corny jokes, and super-unrealistic scenes, but RDJ & Jude Law have such great chemistry, it's hard to be mad.

  2. Robert Downy Jr and Jude Law are GREAT together. It's funny how they get rid of both romantic roles almost immediately to focus on their flourishing bromance.

    {Brokeback Sherlock}

  3. Nice review of the movie. Downey Jr makes a very interesting Sherlock Holmes.

    I liked the first movie. I need to check this one out.