SYNOPSIS: The puzzle at the heart of Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows begins with the death of the Crown Prince of Austria. Written off as a suicide, Holmes (Robert Downey Jr) deduces there is more to the story. Enter Watson (Jude Law), who should be on his honeymoon, a beautiful fortune-teller (Noomi Rapace, the original girl with the dragon tattoo), the unspeakably evil Moriarty and more intrigue than you can shake a deerstalker hat at. This week the game’s afoot with Reel Guy Ned Ehrbar!
Richard: 2 ½ Stars
Ned: 3 Stars
Richard: Ned, there is no question that RDJ and Law bring a certain joie de vivre to the usually staid portrayal of the great detective and his loyal sidekick. They look like they’re having a ball. probably more fun than the audience, in fact. As enjoyable as it is to watch these two riff off one another it soon becomes clear the whole movie is nothing more than a vehicle for their banter.
Ned: The banter is delightful, there’s no denying that. But when they’re not sniping at each other, you start to notice the plot doesn’t really measure up to a detective of Holmes’ stature — or offer any original ideas. Basically, if you don’t want the movie spoiled for you, wipe “the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen” from your memory, as Moriarty’s scheme is exactly the same in both movies. I’m assuming the filmmakers are banking on no one remembering that movie, though — which is a safe bet — but still.
RC: Agreed, if you can figure out the story. Confused and confusing, the plot zips along at such a rapid pace you’ll barely know it doesn’t make much sense because director Guy Ritchie fills the screen with atmospheric, wildly edited scenes anchored by Downey’s flamboyant performance. It looks cool and will make you laugh occasionally, but the quips and extravagantly edited sequences are only fun in the moment. They don’t add up to much of a movie.
NE: Some of those cool-looking scenes can grate, as well. A little bit of the Sherlock slow-mo fight analysis goes a long way, but since it got such a good reaction in the first film, Ritchie lays on the bullet time a little thick here. One element that did work for me though was Jared Harris’ Moriarty, a dangerously brilliant villain with a plausible cover story as a mild-mannered professor. It’s a shame he’s not in the movie more, though.
RC: Harris has one seminal psycho moment–is there anything crazier than belting out an aria while torturing your nemesis?—but I didn’t think Noomi Repace, while eye catching as Sim, was given enough to do to be truly memorable.
NE: True, she doesn’t get much to do besides react to the dynamic duo’s chicanery and drop helpful reminders about the plot. And the less said about RJD on on a pony, the better. Still, audiences could do a lot worse.
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