Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows - Review

When Guy Ritchie "rebooted" or "reinvented" Sherlock Holmes with a superb casting choice regarding Robert Downey Jr. as Sherlock Holmes, the first movie from 2009 did suprisingly well. It introduced a new vision of Sherlock Holmes that was pretty badass but also "weird" (in a Jack Sparrow way), while still maintaining a certain amount of truth to the source material.
Therefore, many had high hopes for the sequel. I wasn't really hyped that much about Sherlock Holmes 2, because i had the feeling that the first one shouldn't have gotten a sequel. It felt complete as a standalone experience. But well hollywood thinks how does it hold up?

The plot:
Sherlock Holmes and his sidekick Dr. Watson join forces to outwit and bring down their fiercest adversary, Professor Moriarty. (source: IMDb)

"Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows" (Sherlock Holmes 2), is a little bit hard to get into. The first act feels very rushed, and struggles to give a good entry into the storyline. It gets confusing pretty fast and you have to pay attention to keep track. Often it's also a bit hard to get why the protagonists are "at this place and talk to that specific person". It's especially hard to keep track of the scientific "detective work" and chase with all the action scenes thrown into the course. It's mainly pretty imaginative but feels a bit scattered all over the place and less well focused.
The final showdown between Moriarty and Holmes kind of fits the title "A Game of Shadows" but i was really expecting something greater and more intense.
But what really killed me was the ending of the movie which is so fucking "FUCK LOGIC!....DEUS EX MACHINA!" that i slapped my hand against my forehead. But anyway.

As i said, Guy Ritchie's Sherlock Holmes interpretation is defined by its great casting choices. Robert Downey in particular is probably THE best choice for a badass Sherlock Holmes. He does just as great as in the first movie and is perfect for the role. But there's one big problem with him: different from the first movie in which he was able to quickly puzzle things and circumstances together to a whole, NOW he seems to be able to look into the future! WTF!? This is not predicting and evaluating the situation in the moment anymore, but straighout "Next" with Nicolas Cage. Sherlock's abilities get amped up to such a degree that it's out of this world ridiculous. And that's a pity because one of the biggest strengths of the first movie was that the supernatural happenings could all be scientifically and logically explained. But now that's not that much the case, considering Sherlock's "Future Holmes vision".
Jude Law is another good casting choice for Watson. Yet still i just can't stand this dude....but it's a personal thing, nevermind.
Noomi Rapace does ok as Madam Simza Heron, the new leading woman. And is far less annoying than Rachel McAdams from the first movie. Yet still, she isn't that much of a strong teammate. Only rarely or occasionally she drives the chase and detective work forward. She often reminded me of Daphne's role from Scooby Doo, but i don't want to be too harsh with her.
Moriarty's role as the villain is pretty bland at first. So are his goals that are never quite that well explained until the end. Jared Harris as Moriarty, does represent an evil threat and is probably even more vicious than Mark Strong from the first movie, but violence and cruelty don't make a villain memorable, but his character.
Overall, except Downey Jr., the rest of the cast doesn't feel slightly as strong, making "Sherlock Holmes 2" mainly a one man show.

The flick's comedy doesn't always work. Often the comedy feels very forced and flat. Most of the funny moments are flatout WTF-moments which make no sense what so ever. Like Sherlock's brother Mycroft just randomly showing up nude. Why? I dont know! Nobody knows! It just happens!
Another thing that drags the movie down are some very clichee moments like a "LIVE DAMNIT LIVE!- moment".

The action on the other hand is pretty good. There's a good amount of well choreographed fight scenes and other action scenes. The train action scene in particular stands out as THE big action scene of the movie. Just like the "docks ship scene" from the first movie, there are many over-the top unrealistic moments that (most of em) feature Holmes' "FUTURE VISION!". Yet still, i have to say that the action is better thought out, more engaging and more present than in the first one. Unfortunately, as i already said, they are even more over the top.
Especially the 300-style slow-mo effect gets the shit used out of.

All in all, "Sherlock Holmes 2" is just as big a disappointment as i thought it would be. It by far doesn't feel as fresh as the first one, but with Robert Downey in the leading role it's still a watchable and somewhat entertaining movie. It's a movie that i would describe as "stupidly entertaining". It's a fun but very forgettable experience. It's a prime example of a fresh first part getting a sequel which is just louder and dumber. It is definitely much more action focused and less focused on detective work, which the first one was more capable of balancing both. Yet it would be unfair if i'd say that there was no detective work at all. Amping up all the skills of Sherlock to an (often laughable) over-the top height most probably wasn't the best choice. With that said, the movie is by far not as smart as it thinks it is, and almost completely relies on action. Still, i would say that Guy Ritchie should definitley stop making Sherlock movies after this sequel. The content of his Sherlock interpretation feels like it's been sucked out dry.

Ultimately, i would recommend the movie to people who really liked the first one. Those might get a kick out of this shallow sequel. Others that don't have that much faith in it (watch the trailers), this movie probably won't change your mind. Don't place all your bets on "Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows".

Final Verdict: 4 out of 10


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