Robert Downey Jr has it all at the minute. He’s the star of two of Hollywood’s most recent money-spinning franchises, here with ‘Sherlock Holmes’ and also in the superhero genre with ‘Iron Man’, with the potentially biggest movie of 2012 already lined up in the humongous ‘Avengers’ movie, there’s not much wrong the man can do. In ‘Sherlock’, in particular, he’s quickly making the age-old role his own, in the same, eccentric way as Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow, in ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’, but can he manage to continue his recent strong of successes with ‘Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows’? Let’s find out…
The film sees Sherlock and his capable sidekick Dr. Watson (played well by Jude Law), aiming to track down the mysterious Professor Moriarty, who is trying to make himself a lot of money, and start a world war at the same time. Moriarty is played by Mad Men’s Jared Harris, relatively unknown other than to fans of that show, but plays the typical traditional villain, very intelligent and gets his henchman to do his dirty work for him. It’s this that I struggled with at times; Moriarty seemed so in control and capable, that I couldn’t see how Sherlock was ever going to defeat him. Throughout the film’s 2hours and 8 minute length, although it didn’t feel as long as that, the story isn’t very clear. Director Guy Ritchie, doesn’t really outline his plot aswell as in the first film, with it only really clicking thanks to Stephen Fry’s performance as elder Holmes brother, Mycroft, and the dialogue between Sherlock and Moriarty, which does come sometime well over the halfway point.
Despite the story not being the most clearest thing ever, the film does still entertain. As predicted, Downey Jr, brings his trademark wit and humour with him, aswell as a variety of disguises. His fighting scenes are brough back from the first film too, with his breakdown of how he is going to take down his enemies in slow motion with his commentary over the top, before he puts his skills into action. Jude Law is great as his able sidekick, Watson, and one of the most humourous scenes, involves his new wife being thrown off a train by Holmes into the well timed viaduct below. Infact, the train sequence is just one of many well-shot chases, and action scenes, something which the director clearly excels with due to his past work. I also loved the super slow-mo action sequences, especially towards the end when everyone is running through a forest, with bullets flying all around. The visuals and sound fit perfectly, and it was a real ‘goosebumps’ moment. The landscapes of Germany, France and England are well used, and provide variants for the two main characters to work wit, ensuring that the on-screen action never becomes too repetitive.
I was also impressed with Noomi Rapace, famous for her lead role in the original Swedish ‘Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’, in her first English film, although you wouldn’t know it! I’d seen in previous reviews that she doesn’t feature much, and when she did, she didn’t offer a lot at all, but I found her the complete opposite, and played her role as the gypsy, Sim, very well. Stephen Fry is great as ever, with his own unique sense of humour a great foil for Downey Jr. One scene in particular involving an almost naked Fry, Dr Watson’s wife and the elderly butler Stanley, is hilarious. Hans Zimmer, THE greatest, current movie soundtrack composer, strikes gold again, with a reprisal of his ‘stringy-drum’ style of the first movie, my description may be awful, but it is really catchy!
The film is a wonderful mix of action and comedy, and is really unique, in that it is not a massively serious film most of the time, unlike ‘Transformers’, which is literally robots hitting each other over and over, but has little laughs. This is similar to the first, but is still as exciting and fresh as it. The ending was good, and leaves it open for a third installment, which wouldn’t be a bad thing, if the story-telling could be worked on. Sure, it won’t win any Oscars, but ‘Sherlock Holmes 2′, is a great action-comedy, and importantly family friendly movie, that will entertain everyone!