[Safe waters ahead – no spoilers until the very end. Don’t worry, I’ll send up the red flag when we get there.]
So, over Christmas weekend I saw two movies – the first of which was Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows. I’m a big fan of the first movie – the dialogue and overall intelligence of that film was something that I have rarely seen. The acting was on point and the comedic timing was perfect. Robert Downey Jr. is a great Sherlock Holmes, and Jude Law was a surprisingly perfect Watson. One of my favorite things about the first movie was that the cinematography was innovative and unique. I loved the slow motion sequences and the way that the viewer was able to see what Holmes was thinking and how he picked up on the various clues (that were, unsurprisingly, right in front of us the whole time). Usually I don’t think anything of the way in which a movie was shot, but this definitely caught my attention in a good way.
(On a related note, I read an article the other day that described the five things that Guy Ritchie got right in this series that most other Holmes movies/shows get wrong. This was a great read, and something to think about while watching either one.)
The second installment in this series was not a disappointment. It kept a lot of the things I liked about the original: the back and forth banter between Holmes and Watson, the slow motion fight sequences where Holmes describes how he will take out his attacker, and the overall intelligence of the movie. And in so many ways, this did everything the first movie did but better. The banter was as witty as ever. The slow motion fight sequences had a few unique twists that kept it fresh from the first movie. And Holmes’ cleverness really knows no bounds. But even better than that was the bad guy: Moriarty. He really sold this film for me. Throughout the entire movie he was on equal footing with Holmes and he even – *gasp* – got the better of him once or twice!
I only have two complaints about the movie. The first one was the dialogue – in some places it just seemed forced. I loved the banter, as always, but some of it seemed a little over the top and silly. You can usually tell how funny a movie is by the number of times that my best friend elbows me in the side for laughing too loudly. This one was about a medium – she only did it twice. There were definitely some great lines, but some of them fell a bit flat, too. My second complaint was the pacing. The first three-quarters of the movie was a bit slow. However, when it did finally hit its stride, it hit it hard. The last bit was just absolutely incredible, and by the end I was behind this movie one hundred percent.
So, if you enjoyed the first movie I would definitely recommend this one. If you thought the first one was just okay, chances are you won’t enjoy the second one as much. This one is slower and a bit more complex, but definitely worth it if you can stick it out until the end.
So, what about the future of Sherlock? [SPOILER ALERT]
Apparently Warner Bros. is already set for making a third installation. I’m pretty happy about this, especially given how the second one ended. However, I hope that they come up with a villain that is even more interesting (if not as intelligent) as Moriarty. That’s going to be a tough obstacle, but one that is crucial to get around if they’re hoping for a good turnout for movie number three.
If you saw this movie, I’d love to know what you thought about it – especially compared to the first one. I’ve actually never gotten through an entire Sherlock Holmes novel (I was pretty young when I tried, and I just couldn’t get into it) so I’d be interested to see what you guys think of the movies compared to the books.