Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (Rated PG-13) Three Stars
Maybe it’s the Guy Ritchie factor, but I just don’t get why these films are popular. I like Robert Downy, Jr. and this film had like, 75 percent less Rachel McAdams, but I was just as bored watch-ing this as the original. At 129 completely unjustified minutes, why can’t even die-hard fans admit that Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows is a bit on the lengthy side?
The first 30 minutes or so are a pretty big waste of time, what with all the non-sexual tension between Holmes (Downey, Jr.) and Irene Adler (McAdams). Since the entire set-up could have been done in 10 minutes the lengthy intro just to establish that Moriarty (Jared Harris) is the Big Bad seems padded. After wrapping up the nonsense (Elaborate fight scenes! Bombs! Poison darts! Moriarty can clear a restaurant!) we transition into something resembling the meat of a plot. It seems that Dr. Watson (Jude Law) is about to get married, and he has trusted Holmes to be his best man. Watson isn’t nearly as smart as he is supposed to be.
Holmes and Watson hit the town, supposedly for a bachelor party, and Sherlock’s brother (Stephen Fry) goes along for the ride. I take a little nap, and when I wake up, Holmes is completely blowing off his best man duties to do some Sherlocking, which leads him into the parlor of a fortune teller. It seems that at some point, Holmes deduced that Madame Sim (Noomi Rapace) is being targeted by Moriarty for some vague, un-explained reason. At least we get a super cool chase scene out of it!
The next day, after the wedding, Holmes goes to visit Moriarty at a university. Since Moriarty is clearly such an evil genius, Holmes takes the opportunity to slip him some poison, and the movie ends. Except that doesn’t happen, and instead the two archenemies do some verbal sparring that involves announcing how much they respect each other, and that’s why they’re not killing each other, and blah blah blah. I do not share their admiration, since the smart thing to do involves a blunt instrument of some kind, and neither of them is stepping up.
So, since Holmes knows that Moriarty is a sociopath, he intercepts Watson and puts him on his guard so he can effec-tively protect his new bride. Except that doesn’t happen either. Instead, he dresses up as a lady and prepares elaborate train urinal-based booby traps, finally blowing the train in half. Then, he drags Watson into a gypsy camp that in no way reinforces popular stereotypes.
Reunited with Madame Sim, she feeds them clues about her brother, who is somehow involved in Moriarty’s master plan. I cross my fingers and hope that this is an elaborate set-up that will end with Sim partnered with Moriarty, laughing evilly at the ineptitude of a supposedly great detective. The trio follows the trail, which eventually leads them into Germany. Holmes confronts Moriarty, and once the Big Bad has neutralized him, he is killed and his body is dumped in a river. Except that doesn’t happen. Instead, Moriarty explains his whole elabo-rate plot and toys with Holmes, giving Watson time to save the day. Will Hollywood villains never learn?
When the two meet for the final time, the setting is a pretty groovy castle in Switzerland, built into the side of a mountain and straddling an enormous waterfall. Pretty cool. Do you think that waterfall might be im-portant later?
Frankly, I was bored. The plot was confusing, the dialogue mumbled, the camera work pretentious and the ending a great big cheat. To be fair, my husband said he really liked it.
The film isn’t for everyone, but fans of the first will find more of the same and probably enjoy what they get.
Now showing at Wynnsong 7, Carmike 12 and Carmike Market Fair 15.