Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows

Guy RitchieRobert Downey Jr.Christopher PlummerGolden Globe AwardsNoomi RapaceJared HarrisBuster Keaton

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle introduced Sherlock Holmes to the world in the 1800s, and the Guinness World Records has said that Holmes has been the “most portrayed movie character” on the screen, with well over 200 movies.

Buster Keaton had an early role as the logical detective in the early 1920s, and Christopher Plummer – who is getting lots of attention for his role in Beginners this year – played him in 1979.

Guy Ritchie brought a modern touch to the tales with this character a few years ago. I enjoyed that one. The score was amazing, the set design, and modern, stylized take was a lot of fun. It helped that Jude Law and Robert Downey, Jr. were the leads and had great chemistry together.

In the second teaming of Watson and Holmes, we get a decent villain. He’s played by Jared Harris (Mad Men). His voice and intelligence reminds me of a Bond villain, and the chess match he gets into with Downey is clever. I just didn’t find him as menacing as all the creeps in the first film.

I also found that many of the things Ritchie is known for in his movies has become monotonous. There’s only so many times we can see slow motion explosions and stop action, where the bullet hits the tree, nearly missing Holmes. A lot of the dialogue was boring, too.

Since the Holmes character was originally created as a guy that dabbled in drugs and wasn’t the cleanest person around, I laughed watching how that was portrayed in these films. In this one he’s drinking, smoking, and nibbling on cocoa leaves. He also has an occasional belt of formaldehyde. Not sure what kind of hangover that will give ya.

Dr. Watson is again reluctant to work with Holmes, and he’s preoccupied with his upcoming nuptials.

Rachel McAdams is back in a few scenes, and  Noomi Rapace (The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo) is an interesting fortune-teller.

The story was convoluted and at times hard to follow. There’s the suicide of the prince of Austria, that Holmes deduces that the evidence points to murder.

The story was written by the husband and wife team of Michelle and Kieran Mulroney (Paper Man). Kieran is more well-known as an actor (and younger brother of Dermot). I’m hoping their next script is a little better than this.

And I hope Guy Ritchie mixes up his editing and visuals and gives us something different next time out.

Robert Downey, Jr. won a Golden Globe for his performance as Sherlock Holmes the first time out, but it’s a safe bet that this movie won’t win anything. In a weekend when the kids will want to go to the Alvin and the Chipmunks sequel, take them to that instead of seeing this “sequel.”

I’m giving it 1 ½ stars out of 5.

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