Tuesday 27 December 2011

Sherlock Holmes: A Game Of Shadows

I took my nephew and his friend to see Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows and it was more than worth the extortion price to get in. I gladly donated a kidney and an unborn child to be named later to settle in for this hellagood thriller. Guy Ritchie, RDJ and Jude Law delivered in spades once again.

This time around we have Sherlock going up against a criminal mastermind that wants to bring about world war so he clean up on the guns, bullets and bombs necessary to fight this armageddon. A little megalomaniacal for late Victorian England, but I bought it. This covert evil genius is none other than Professor James Moriarty, Holmes' archenemy, the Napoleon of Crime as described by Doyle. He is played to sinister perfection by Jared Harris. The air between Holmes and Moriarty whenever they share screen time is charged, the dialogue, knife-blade sharp. The way they match wits is an intellectual Wimbledon final that left me wanting more and more. I didn't want to leave these two, other than to go to Holmes and Watson, who are just electric together. Seriously, RDJ and Law light it up like Chicago at Christmas. I could not get enough of them and yes, I want another SH film right freakin' now.

Back to the shadow game. Holmes becomes aware of Moriarty's machinations through Irene Adler, in a thankfully brief cameo by Rachel McAdams. Sherlock, of course forms his crazy, frantic web of red string to try and tie it all together. Enter poor Watson, who is arriving in expectation of his bachelor party, only to get caught up once more in his friend's insanity.

Cut to the Diogenes Club and the "bachelor" party, which really isn't one as the only other person Watson knows is Mycroft, Holmes' equally eccentric older brother. Stephen Fry is brilliant as Holmes the Elder. He seems a stodgy, almost calmer version of Sherlock, but he really has his own steamer trunk of weirdness. Here they meet Gypsey fortune teller Madame Simza played by Noomi Rapace in a stellar performance. Her chemistry with both RDJ and Law is dynamite. She really holds her own unlike McAdams, who, while I like her, was woefully mis-cast as Adler. She had chemistry, but you could tell she was overwhelmed.

After saving Simza and defeating a Cossack assassin in a roller coaster chase through the club, Holmes deposits a hung-over Watson at his wedding. While the good doctor enjoys his new bride, Holmes heads to confront Moriarty. What a verbal thrust and parry this scene is. It starts off with toothy pleasantries, two sharks circling, then spirals into a sinister verbal duel. I sat on the edge of my seat watching the blood-letting until Moriarty makes it clear that he was going to go through Watson to punish Holmes. Harris has such a vulturine look in his eyes here, it is scary to behold.

Moriarty brings the Wrath of the Universe down on Watson as he arranges for a squad of soldier types to blow the guy's honeymoon train to smithereens. This action sequence and the dialogue are some of the best of the film. Ritchie pulls out all the stops with everything flying fast and furious on speeding rail cars. It was phenomenal and RDJ in a dress just ruled along with his double entendres. And can I just say that Kelly Reilly is so kick ass as Mary Watson. I cheered when she picked up Watson's gun and ordered that thug off the train. A bride worthy of my favorite doctor.

From here on out the action just keeps building with a few catch-your-breath moments. It leads to a spectacular chase scene through the woods of Germany that had my jaw on the floor. I looked like a landed trout, the boys, too. The whole thing winds up at a peace conference where Holmes and Moriarty engage in a verbal chess match that is some of the most scintillating dialogue I have ever witnessed on screen. I won't spoil it except to say if you read the books, you know all about what happens when these two engage in their climactic battle. See this right now and strap in for Sherlock 3.


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

So ready for the third one! Such a fun movie. And great review, Melissa. You're a pro!

Craig Edwards said...

It's a very good movie, and this review caps it perfectly! Well done, Mel B!

Unknown said...

@Alex Thanks! Man, I want another movie so bad I'm in pain, I swear. LOL I loved this even more than the first and I didn't think that would possible.

Unknown said...

@Craig Why thank you, sir! I'm happy you enjoyed my review. I already want to see this one again. ;)

Russell_LDN said...

Great review Mel, a really interesting read.

I have never been interested in the Sherlock Holmes films that much, it has never appealed. Not for any particular reason but there just always seemed to be something else that took priority.

However upon reading your review I might need to reconsider this and make an effort to watch it. I am a big RDJ fan and Jude Law as well and Stephen Fry is just plain awesome. I was also intrigued by your reference to the scintillating dialogue, which I think is key to a great film.

As always, I learn something from your reviews, and I will definitely be going to watch these films now. It's also great to see that Guy Ritchie has delivered a great film.

Unknown said...

@Russell Thank you!! See these films ASAP, I'm telling you, you will love them. The dialogue is just so rapid fire and witty, it's brilliant! I don't say that lightly as I am huge into dialogue and to me it is the core of a good film.

Russell_LDN said...

Sweet, thanks for the insight Mel. I think I am going to check it out this week....hopefully.

I couldn't agree more, I think that good dialogue is paramount to a great story, just look at 'The Social Network'.

Unknown said...

@Russell The Socila Network was just incredible. Very well-written with some very intense dialogue that really drove the film. Jesse Eisenberg was amazing.

Dempsey Sanders said...

loved it loved it loved it. Downey is just perfect for this role I think, the 3rd can't come soon enough x

Unknown said...

@Dempsey I know!! I want SH3 tomorrow. LOL. Downey totally embodies the character as does Jude Law.

buddy2blogger said...

Nice review of the movie. Downey Jr makes a very interesting Sherlock Holmes.

I liked the first movie. I need to check this one out.


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