Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows in theaters now

You gotta love Robert Downey Jr. He makes Holmes's character. I know nothing about the Sherlock Holmes books, and I suspect these movies are nothing like them...but still: great movies. I enjoyed the 2009 Sherlock Holmes, and several people have told me as enjoyable as the first was, this one is better. I think I agree: better bad guy in this one. But on the other hand, I had to suspend disbelief a little more for A Game of Shadows. In upping the intensity of this film, they upped the danger and death-defying stunts. More and more action movies are doing that, and the result is something like fantasy. Or maybe it's just that we had a year full of superhero movies (where the action is supposed to be a little overdone), and this one fits right in, though it's not technically about a superhero. Holmes redefines that word with his brilliant mind and fighting skills to match.

In A Game of Shadows, Holmes and Watson (played wonderfully by Jude Law) are up against Professor Moriarty, a man who might rival Holmes for genius. In order to protect Watson's future with his new bride, Holmes must defeat his toughest enemy in a game of chess-like proportions. The gray and sepia color tones of the first movie are back, as well as the slow-motion fight scenes Holmes rehearses in the seconds before he takes out an enemy. But this time, Holmes is not always quite so successful. The best of these fight scenes takes place early on in the movie when Holmes must rescue a gypsy woman from an assassin in a gentleman's club during Watson's bachelor party, which Holmes is responsible for and completely botches. The humor is back, too.

In contrast to that brilliant scene is one where Holmes and company run through the forest with gun shells exploding around them. While every other instance of slow-motion interspersing the action is purposeful and takes place in Holmes's mind, this time is purely for the look of it and has no purpose in the movie at all. While fun, it's inconsistent with the rest of the movie. Another fantastic but overdone scene takes place on Watson's honeymoon train.

But aside from over-the-top thrills, a few nearly indecipherable lines of dialog due to accent and speed of speech, and a few almost-too-perfectly-executed rescues, Sherlock Holmes is a fantastic movie to see in theaters! It's relatively clean and rated PG-13, mostly for violence. If you want to see it in theaters, hurry before it's gone!

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