Monday, July 29, 2013

Penny Thoughts ‘13—Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (2011) ***

PG-13, 129 min.
Director: Guy Ritchie
Writers: Michele Mulroney, Kieran Mulroney, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (characters)
Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Jude Law, Noomi Rapace, Jared Harris, Stephen Fry, Paul Anderson, Kelly Reilly, Geraldine James, Eddie Marsan, William Houston

“A Game of Shadows” adds a little bit more sleuthing to the action/mystery combination of the big screen Sherlock Holmes franchise. What this has to offer that is missed by the modern television versions of Sherlock is that grand scale that only cinema can provide. It isn’t as graceful, but it’s a hell of a lot of fun.

Of the two Downey Sherlocks, this one is the superior if only because the grand scale of the plot lives up to the bombastic approach to the material. Once again we find Sherlock in desperate need for a case, Watson in the mindset that he’s done with Sherlock’s wicked plots and terrible manners, and a Moriarty who’s not so content to remain a mystery. His schemes, on the other hand, are a grand mystery; and I’d have trouble believing anyone who says they had it all figured out before the munitions factory scene. But, it does all come together in the end, as all good mysteries must.

But, that journey to get there, wow! Isn’t that fun? The female presence here isn’t as strong as in other stories, although Watson’s bride, Mary Morstan, adds a key element to the developments. Noomi Rapace is fairly wasted in her role as the gypsy who leads the sleuths to their solutions. She seems to be just along for the ride, when in the original “Millennium” trilogy, she was the ride. That lack of female involvement allows the filmmakers to play some more with the notion that the real romance in a Holmes mystery is between Sherlock and Watson.

And then of course, there’s the Reichenbach finale. Finishing with one of the most monumental events in the Sherlock canon is a significant element adding to the rollicking power of this particular episode. How many times can we be fooled by Holmes’s death? Well, true, probably never. We knew he didn’t die, but it’s always fun figuring out how. Again, I’m thinking a fall trip to London is in order to see what they come up with for the BBC’s “Sherlock”.

Read my original review here.

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