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Thursday, January 31, 2013

Fishing in the Discount Bin - Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows

Time for Fishing in the Discount Bin, my weekly gaze at something in my home video library because I really don't have much of a social life.  This time out, we're doing the second in Robert Downey Jr's take on the world's greatest detective, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows.  This entry is originally dated June 24, 2012.

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows

Unlike some of my friends, I never knew too much about the world of Sherlock  Holmes.  Didn't see any of the myriad of film or TV adaptations (unless you count the Disney classic The Great Mouse Detective), never cracked the books when I was a kid, I was a Holmesian newbie.  My first real exposure to the world of Sherlock Holmes was when I plunked down my $12 in the holiday season of 2009 to see the movie with Robert Downey Jr and Jude Law.

And I came away from the film...whelmed.  I wasn't overwhelmed or underwhelmed, I was whelmed.  I felt the film was good but not great, but I enjoyed it well enough to make it the first Blu-Ray I bought.  About the only thing I was madly in love with from that film was the score by Hans Zimmer.  But again, I liked it well enough that when the sequel came out in the holiday season of 2011, I went to see the sequel, and buy it on Blu-Ray.

The second film really does get a little goofier than the first time around.  They really indulge in Holmes's eccentricities.  And then, they introduce his brother Mycroft, played by legendary British comedian Stephen Fry, who's even more eccentric.  There's a scene where Mycroft is strutting around his house naked, horrifying his house guest Mary Watson, that seems only to be there just to go, "Look how wacky this guy is!"

And like a lot of folks, I was very disappointed in how they treated the character of Irene Adler, once again played by Rachel McAdams.  As you may recall from the first film, she was in the employ of Professor Moriarity.  In the first 15 minutes of the second one, Moriarity believes that her affections for Holmes are starting to affect her work, so he kills her off.  The way I see it, there's only one of two reasons that they did this.  1)  She was popular with the audience after the first one, so they felt compelled to bring her back, but they really didn't have a role for her in the movie, so the filmmakers dealt with her quickly.  2)  Merely done so Holmes could go, "And this time, it's personal." 

That being said, though, it's nice to see the character of Mary Watson get in about 30 seconds of ass-kicking.  The first 15 seconds are early in the film, when Moriarity sends assassins to kill Watson, and, well, to borrow Keira Knightly's line from Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, never deny a woman her wedding night.  The other 15 seconds comes at the end where, thanks to the evidence Holmes has gathered, we see her telling Inspector Lestrade how to dismantle Moriarity's criminal empire.

And the final battle is pretty neat, too.  As in the first film, before the fight breaks out, we see Holmes sizing up Moriarity, detailing how he'd take him down.  Then, Moriarity's thoughts interrupts Holmes's thoughts, and says, "You're not the only one who can play this game," and then we hear how Moriarity would take down Holmes.  Then back to Holmes, then back to Moriarity, until they both come to the same conclusion:  Moriarity wins.  So Holmes kills both himself and Moriarity.

Oh, come on.  That's not a spoiler.  In every adaptation of Holmes, that's eventually how it ends.

But yeah.  I just find the whole film gets silly and over the top in some places.  Like Holmes disguising himself as a woman.  Or his "urban camouflage."  If you liked the first one, you'll probably like this one.

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