Bottom Line: Your heart will race, your lungs will laugh, your mind will gather clues.
Directed by: Guy Ritchie
Starring: Jared Harris, Jude Law, Noomi Rapace, Robert Downey Jr.
Suspenseful action-mystery is the thrilling sequel to 2009’s SHERLOCK HOLMES. The story, often a little complex, centers around Holmes (Robert Downey Jr.) and his partner Dr. Watson (Jude Law), in their efforts to bring down enemy Professor Moriarty (Jared Harris). For much of the film, by their side is Simza Heron (Noomi Rapace), a fierce, intelligent spiritualist. Acting-wise, that was the highlight of the film: the performance given by Noomi Rapace. Of all actresses, she is the one who I would most expect to portray an oracle of such–and she does a fine job in such a difficult role.
The action sequences in this film are some of the best I’ve seen in almost any action film at all. One scene depicts the titular character fighting aggressively with an opponent. The action is put into a slow motion effect every so often, leaving Robert Downey Jr.’s voice to narrate the scene by comparing the brawl with the cooking of an omelet, blending decent laughs with huge thrills. In another scene, Holmes, Watson, and Heron are dashing through the woods. The visuals are put to create a similar effect: fast-paced motion, but whenever a bullet is fired, the scene is slowed down to clearly and dazzlingly show the movement of the bullet, keeping the heart-racing effect intensifying and elongating. Though seemingly endless more often than not, scenes like these are the ones that deserve Academy Award nominations and should be used as a model for almost every coming action film.
I cannot speak for the first film, as I have yet to see it, but what truly brought SHERLOCK HOLMES: A GAME OF SHADOWS down from near-perfection was the silliness Robert Downey Jr. put into his role as Sherlock Holmes. Aside from his applause-worthy British accent, he seems to think that every kind of clothing can be used for camouflaging or disguising purposes. He wears a shirt that has one side yellow, the other side a much deeper color; he wears clothing patterned the same way as a couch on top of which he is trying to hide; and he even uses cross-dressing for disguise. All right, I’ll give him the couch disguise. That one was a little funny.
Did I expect to like this? Not really. Did I find it enjoyable enough? No shoot, Sherlock. This would be a good one to see on the big screen, even if you’d rather see it on DVD. You will get your money’s worth out of it. I can’t promise, but I can guarantee.