Over Christmas weekend, I went out with some friends to see "Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows," sequel to Guy Ritchie's "Sherlock Holmes."
WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD
"Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows" takes place at some point after its predecessor. It begins with Holmes believing that seemingly unconnected crimes are actually the work of college professor James Moriarty, who has something sinister up his sleeve. While out celebrating Watson's wedding that will take place the next day, Holmes meets up with a Gypsy girl named Simza who is somehow connected to Moriarty through her anarchist brother. Holmes, dragging along Watson who worries about his new bride, and Simza journey to Paris, Germany, and Switzerland as they try to stop Moriarty and his evil scheme.
One problem I had with the first "Sherlock Holmes" was that the plot was sort of scatter-brained and did not seem to be very smooth. In this movie, the plot was even worse, and it was difficult to understand. I did not understand Holmes' reasons for the move to each place and how he came to his conclusions about Moriarty. Much like the first one, certain scenes would be repeated to show that Holmes was really working something else and that something else was going on that will actually change the outcome; this time, however, it felt more like a cop-out and did not flow smoothly with the plot or the rest of the story. The movie also seemed too long. I was expecting it to be over by the time that the characters got to the train, but, no, it kept going on. I also noticed that my sister, who was in the party, frequently looked at her cell phone clock and which indicated that she too was bored with the movie.
Even though the plot of the first movie was scatterbrained, it was enjoyable because of the character interactions and their witty dialogue. This movie, however, fell flat. Holmes and Watson were no longer entertaining or bouncing off of each other. Holmes also looked jealous for most of the movie, jealous that Watson was getting married, and it led to some rather awkward scenes, which I'll mention later. The characters themselves were dull and nothing special. Holmes was eccentric, but it was not truly memorable or funny like it had been in the first movie. Watson looked more like he was tagging along rather than actually helping his friend. I was excited when I heard that Jared Harris would be playing Moriarty because I had liked him on "Fringe," but his character here was dull and nothing really memorable, which is a shame because he can act so much better.
Another problem I had with the movie was the content. The first movie was relatively clean, with no language and no sex/ sexual references (except for the very brief scene with Holmes and the pillow), but this one was different. There were several awkward scenes between Holmes and Watson that almost came across as being semi-homosexual, such as when they're wrestling in the train car after Holmes throws Watson's new bride Mary into the river. The scene where Holmes' brother Mycroft is nude was totally unnecessary and in bad taste. The scene of Holmes dressed like a woman was obviously done for laughs, but the way it was handled only served to worsen already-awkward scenes between Holmes and Watson.
Perhaps it was because the writers wanted to redeem the plot, but the content of the movie was uncalled for and looked as if it was added more for laughs. Another thing that was added that could have been left out were the number of slow-motion scenes. Some of the scenes looked more like they were trying to explain how Holmes thinks (which the first movie used), but here they were used in over-abundance and became annoying. In particular, the scene where the Germans are firing on Watson, Holmes, and Sim was slow-motion for most of the time, and it made me want things to speed up so that the scene would just end. These things were likely added to make the audience forget about the slow, convoluted plot, but they only served to worsen, not redeem, the movie.
I was disappointed in "Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows." I had expected something similar to the first movie, but it ended up being worse than the first, not improving on the first's issues and adding extra and unnecessary special effects and crude innuendo to distract the audience.
I give it two stars out of five.
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