Review: Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows

This one took the bromance cake. Of course, I’m one of those shallow girlz who will gladly watch — and on some level, enjoy — anything Robert Downey, Jr. is in, so it wouldn’t matter what cake was up for the taking. I’d like it. :-)

Still, there were holes. I know about the expectation that a viewer suspend disbelief and instead just immerse him/herself in the story. I get that. But Guy Ritchie makes the work awfully challenging. Just a few examples:

  • A high-tech (even by, say, Viet Nam era standards) weapons factory exists in the Swiss wilderness, complete with a football-stadium-sized warehouse, which Holmes illuminates by flipping a single light switch, instantaneously activating enormous overhead lights (the film takes place in 1891).
  • Holmes throws Watson’s wife off a speeding train, sending her plummeting at 50 MPH into a river, from which she emerges, unscathed, muttering sarcastically about how this was shaping up to be the best night of her life.
  • With regards to the train: there’s only so much smart-aleck, joke-around-in-the-face-of-certain-death chicanery I can take. Again, expectations for suspension of disbelief were too high. That, and the fact that Watson took far too easily the news that his friend just chucked his wife into the river on their honeymoon night. Head-scratcher.
  • There’s a completely cheesy twist put on the final (and by this time, tedious) slo-mo fight sequence. I actually did a tongue click.

The fight scenes (too many for my taste) bordered on the useless. And the evil henchman/assassin working for Moriarty? Hardly a scary individual. He looked like a cost accountant, late for a train. (My apologies to all tardy cost accountants.) It just didn’t add up; it was like Ritchie was trying to cover all bases for everyone, and missing the mark altogether in places. The way Holmes was directed to react to the death of someone close to him (and it wasn’t even confirmed in the movie, at least to my satisfaction) was pretty shallow. Big question mark there.

There were definite bright spots, however. I mean, it’s RDJ — need I say more? :P Jude Law was also adorable, and Jared Harris (Lane Pryce in Mad Men) did the understated arch-villain Moriarty proud. Stephen Fry, half of the old comedy team Fry and (Hugh) Laurie, was delightful as Holmes’s quirky brother Mycroft. He called Downing “Sherly” — haha.

As for the women in the film…um, were there any women in the film? Huh…can’t recall.

Still, it was a borderline fun movie for a quiet Saturday night. If you don’t mind being nibbled to death by anachronistic ducks, give it a try. “Sherly” is, after all, pretty easy on the eyes.

On the Rat-O-Meter scale of five cheeses, I give Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows:

16 thoughts on “Review: Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows

    1. Rat Fink Post author

      Yeah, if you didn’t like the first one, don’t bother! I personally liked the original much better, so this one was kind of a letdown — mostly because I think Ritchie tried to “modernize” Holmes’s character too much, probably to pander to American film audiences — ugh

      I am having a completely boring weekend — which is exactly what I wanted!! :-D And how do you feel after the marathon? Wow!


      1. Suzanne

        Well I have a blister on each foot and my right hip was hurting but that seems to have subsided somewhat. Like you and your live performing, I think that an end of an era has come for me and no more marathons. Just hafta admit it! At least not full marathons, maybe halfs……

        Glad you are having a boring weekend, they are good for you! Talked to my mom earlier and it’s hot and humid there. Also there in Oh-hi-ya?

        1. Rat Fink Post author

          Yep, sure is. At the moment, the sky is grumbling and there is a soft rain, so it’s alleviating some of the mugginess. It was a hot one! I’m glad you got to talk to your mama today.

          I hear you about the marathons. I mean, a marathon — that’s what, 25 MILES? That’d take me all dang day! I’m not surprised your hip joint was barkin’ at ya. But GOOD for you for tackling it; it’s something I’ve never had the nerve to try!

  1. Greg

    I’m watching this film now–in sections. Some of the story is lifted in parts from other Arthur Conan Doyle’s Holmes stories. At least it looks that way. The film seems to have some “too dark” sections as well (or it could just be my television!) I prefer the film’s characterization of Watson from the original novels where he seems a bit thick. I’m holding off on final judgement until I finish watching it. I liked the first film though.

  2. Mavis

    I adore RDJ! You and I watched the first one at the theater together and enjoyed it. I could watch him in just about anything. Yummy!

    I think RDJ is actually a very good actor. Those eyes of his just draw me into the character he plays. A couple of the movies he’s been in have been less than stellar, but his acting is always great. I haven’t seen the second Holmes movie, but the first one I thoroughly enjoyed. He’s hysterical!! Not too bad to look upon, either. I enjoyed Jude’s Law role as Watson, too. Looking forward to seeing the second movie!

    1. Rat Fink Post author

      You guys need to rent it! If you’re in it for the RDJ factor, you will be tres impressione, ma cherie!

  3. PKPudlin

    I liked both movies, but definitely the first better than the second. I can forgive a few anachronistic bloopers, but the second movie had too many slo-mo scenes that did nothing to enhance the story, in my humble opinion. I do like the smarter, braver Watson – he seems to balance out Holmes, whose eccentricity tends to be extreme at times. The Watson of the Rathbone movies was depicted as a dull and sluggardly person; someone I can hardly believe Holmes would be able to tolerate, much less have as a BFF. Jude Law’s Watson is a much better and more believable match for someone as intelligent (and egotistical!) as Holmes.

    Two cheeses out of five? Guess the Fink was not amused… :)


    1. Rat Fink Post author

      Totally agree — especially about Watson. Nigel Bruce never did it for me (well actually, both he and Holmes struck me as grandfatherly in my youth), and I totally see your reasoning behind doubting why the old Bruce/Rathbone pairing for Holmes and Watson was unnatural.

      Maybe I could have given it 3 cheeses — if he’d just not thrown her in the river. :P

  4. Tom Hanks

    Haven’t seen either of these Holmes flicks because I thought the adverts looked like a word people get offended if you use. The only Guy Ritchie film I saw and liked was “Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels” but it was a long time ago.

    The suspension of disbelief thing is getting out of control with todays big effects movies.

    (I stare at the screen in a state of numb boredom. In my head I can hear George Lucas talking to some yes-men on a behind the scenes clip from Star Wars Episode I. He speaks: “With todays technology we have gotten to the point where you can literally put anything on the screen you can imagine…and its just great”. Shot of Jar Jar Binks struggling to hold blue energy cannonball…he slips..landing on crotch.)

    How unfortunate that most big budget directors (Michael Bay, Guy Ritchie, etc) never matured past the age of 14 years old. I can hear them too: “Wouldn’t it be cool like if the girl got thrown off the train into the river and like…”

    No. No it would not. That would be offensive phrase too vulgar for this blog.

    Also…I think Noomi Rapace was in this. She was the star of the original Dragon Tattoo trilogy movies from Sweden of wherever it was. I enjoyed those.

    1. Tom Hanks

      I guess the jar jar binks clip has less to do with suspension of disbelief than with “just because you can doesn’t mean you should.” And also Star Wars Episode I was the beginning of all this nonsense.

      1. Rat Fink Post author

        HAha…I love your input on my movie reviews. You always open doors I never thought of looking through.

        I think that’s part of what bugged me about this film. There was so much in-your-face CG insanity, the viewer didn’t get a chance to see who people were, or more importantly, to care who people were.

        Naomi was indeed in it; she played a gypsy, looking for her brother (a plot development that was incomplete and consequently unnecessary). And what they did with Rachel McAdams’s character was positively baffling. It just seemed like a big fat rush to get to the next fight or gadget scene.

        The banter between Holmes and Watson (which some have called homo-erotic…a stretch by any measure) was fun, and the dog shtick — where Holmes repeatedly kills Watson’s ugly-butt bulldog and brings it back to life — never gets old. Everything else? Not sure…didn’t really care.

        I had never thought about the SW prequel starting all this nonsense. Good call!

        1. Tom Hanks

          I may watch them sometime…I like banter and gags…no sarcasm haha.

          George started all this nonsense with the first Star Wars back in 1977…and I guess it lead to some pretty ok things in the 80’s, but then he just had to come back and take it all right off the deep end. People can never leave things alone.


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