ARTH VADER (AV): Well, Pontificator, Guy Ritchie's has done it again. By somehow avoiding the traditional 'sophomore slump' and common pitfalls of follow-up or poorly planned sequels, Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows is a delightful indulgence. One would have a pretty difficult time finding parallels between Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's prolifically gifted British super-sleuth and the overly-clever, itching-for-a-fight , semi-inebriated manic depressive portrayed by the living legend of acting, Robert Downey Jr. The movie, takes a grossly unrealistic swipe at history, suggesting key villain Moriarty (Jared Harris) is fixing to start the first world war more then 20 years before the the real thing. This concept blurs the already muddy historical context of arguably the most gruesome war known to man. If you're looking for historical accuracy, you will need to steer away from this film, Ponty.
TP: The casting was superb. Robert Downey Jr was excellent as Sherlock Holmes. His portrayal of the sleuth is the best I’ve ever seen as he nails the furious and scattered, yet precise genius, of the character. Jude Law was also great as Dr. John Watson in what I see as an excellent departure from the short, round tradition of the character. The big surprise was Jared Harris. Professor James Moriarty needed to be sinister, scary and every bit the equal and opposite of Holmes...and Harris nailed this.
AV: Pontificator, I too found the over-the-top, special-effects-laden story-telling technique quite enjoyable. Ritchie's vision–which feels oddly misplaced–is terrifically realized. Holmes' pre-cognitive ability to foresee the outcome of an impending conflict is fun and well-handled. With the use of eye-numbing freeze-forward film techniques, the movie also has no shortage of gun play, fisticuffs and a surprisingly reserved number of explosions. Though I will admit, the real indulgence of the Sherlock Holmes movies is the still-shot-into-woodcut illustration effect in each movie's closing credits. Now, I am sure it is some Adobe After Effects filter applied in post-production, it is so beautifully done, I almost wish the film's transitions would have been handled the same way.
AV: It's hard not to dislike these movies–but what the hell, I'll give it a shot! Throughout the movie I feel like I am in a time warp. I am watching Victorian-era English characters tool around in pre-20th century Europe with the sensation that the storytelling technique is too fast-paced, too laden with effects and honestly, downright too cool for this movie. Don't misunderstand here, old friend, because I love the ride it takes you on but I honestly can't help shake the feeling that the whole film is just a bit... off.
TP: Of course there could be a third installment...but I have to wonder where they can go from here. I’m seeing Moriarty as the pinnacle of villainy and a very hard act to follow...unless, well...I’ll leave my speculation in the wind and defer to the mind of Vader.
ARTH VADER rates Sherlock Holems: Game of Shadows: The half-baked script, delightfully over-the-top special effects and overly complex–if not implausible–story don't seem to derail the runaway train of success that is the Sherlock Holmes holiday franchise. On the surface the movie is fun, fast and deliciously overindulgent, and despite its flaws–and Ponty, there are some noticeable flaws–I would be lying if I said I didn't enjoy it and if you are looking for a good time without too much reflection, then this movie is worth a seat and a bag of popcorn–and I am willing to drop seven and one half busted blocks to back it up. Whatever you do, stay for the closing credits.
Oh, and you might want to bring a little ibuprofen, just in case.
8/10 Busted Blocks