Friday, December 16, 2011

Movie with Abe: Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows
Directed by Guy Ritchie
Released December 16, 2011

Sequels can be tricky, since it’s hard to revisit an already popular concept and do it right the second time. In this case, however, the first film was well-designed in terms of its characters and setup, but was lacking in terms of the specific case selected. That means that the sequel is in fact much better than the original, preserving what worked well – acting and aesthetics – about the first movie and delving into a much more enticing and thrilling plot. “Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows” is packed full of action and humor, marvelously enthralling for the whole of its 129-minute runtime.

Robert Downey Jr. is on fire again as Holmes, imbuing him with a sense of ridiculousness and flair only partially made up for by his brilliant detective skills. In the cleverly-titled “A Game of Shadows,” Holmes takes particular delight in blending into his surroundings, donning camouflaged clothing for the purposes of his own amusement several times, not to mention a handful of disguises to outwit his enemies. The wedding of his dear friend Watson (Jude Law) doesn’t ultimately disrupt their bickering-filled partnership, and they do need to keep their wits about them as they take on the highly evil Professor Moriarty. As played by Jared Harris of “Mad Men,” Moriarty is a fascinating, cunning, careful villain who never loses his temper or his composure. Noomi Rapace from “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” also finds herself a decent English-speaking role as a gypsy whose life is in danger, and Stephen Fry earns laughs as Holmes’ diplomat brother. The cast is hilarious and highly capable of working together to create a very fun – and funny – film.

The style established in this film’s predecessor, in which Holmes stops motion and details the specifics of the methods he’ll use to take down his enemy of the moment, which are then shown in slow-motion before the film speeds back up to actually utilize them, are on full display here and as effective as ever. The costumes and set design are terrific, and this film packs considerably more action than might be expected, and it never lets up for a moment, always ready to produce another gunman or prepare another disaster to be averted by Holmes and company. The film even starts in the middle of the action with Holmes tailing Rachel McAdams’ Irene in the midst of some dangerous business. With a third film already on the way, this could well become a series, and if this installment is any indication, the next film should be superb.


No comments: