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Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows | The Clapper Bored

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows

The first Sherlock Holmes movie in this new series set out the unusual new feel of the character. Instead of being a charismatic genius who got stuff done by deduction, Holmes became a charismatic genius who was also manic, verbose, borderline autistic and, most iconoclastically of all, an expert in martial arts, guns and surviving explosions. It’s no surprise then, given the success of the first film, that A Game of Shadows follows up by taking this exact same formula and cranking it up as high as the neurons of Guy Ritchie’s limited brain capacity would take it. The things that worked originally work even better now (it’s a bromance, we get it) and the villain is more interesting but the sacrifice that’s been made here is plot and the nonsense factor has gone through the roof.

Like a Bond film there’s a significant amount of globe trotting. We visit London, Paris, Strasbourg and a gypsy camp that may or may not be in Essex. Like a Bond film there’s a significant amount of buildings falling to pieces amidst enormous clouds of manly things like fire and smoke. Unlike a Bond film, however, this film carries the title ‘Sherlock Holmes’ and therefore one expects a certain amount of mystery, something this film sorely lacks. Yes, Jared Harris’ Moriarty makes for a more interesting villain than Mark Strong but if you know exactly what his crime is then I’ll be damned. He seems to have enormous numbers of personnel at his disposal without the plot every wanting to explain how he came by such a quantity of henchmen.

Yes, I know the danger of satanic Oxbridge professors and therefore I can understand why Moriarty is such a menace but the nonsense that leads Holmes, Watson and, most bizarrely of all, Noomi Rapace on a wild goose chase around 19th Century Europe lets down not just the film but the franchise. Excuses like ‘it’s fun’, ‘it’s a romp from great set piece to great set piece’ and ‘it’s got sexy people in it’ might suffice for some but if you’re looking for a slightly more elevated and enlightened piece of cinema then you might want to steer clear of this tawdry piece of masculine wish fulfilment.

Not worse than its predecessor but lacking the coherence or sense of mystery that ought to mark out a Sherlock Holmes adaptation.

Title: Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows
Director: Guy 'Subtlety' Ritchie
Starring: Robert Downey Jr, Jude Law, Noomi Rapace, Kelly Reilly, Rachel McAdams and Jared Harris.
Running Time: About 2 hours.
Certificate: 12a

One Comment

  1. The Funkmeister says:

    I wasn’t planning on watching this one, and your review has confirmed my suspicions. These movies just don’t feel like authentic adaptations of the source material — not even close. Sherlock Holmes is not about guns and explosions! The recent BBC miniseries, by contrast, was fantastic.