REVIEW: Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows

4 01 2012

I was largely against popular opinion with my disappointed ambivalence towards Guy Ritchie’s first “Sherlock Holmes” film, writing two years ago that “it fails to captivate and engross like detective stories are supposed to do.”  I then went on to make a statement that is now quite ironic: “I do look forward to seeing the sequel which was clearly set up in the ending, hoping in the meantime that Ritchie and his team can figure out a way to get me more engaged.”

Well, here we are, two years later, and I’ve seen “Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows,” Ritchie’s follow-up.  As I sat in the theater and each interminable minute passing felt like five times as long, I wished I could have been sitting in the first movie.  Everything wrong about the 2009 reimagining of Arthur Conan Doyle’s classic detective series was multiplied and magnified, and most of what was done right was gone entirely.  Robert Downey Jr. is now skating on thin ice with me as I’m now almost totally averse to his pompous smugness.  It was awesome in “Iron Man,” amusing in “Sherlock Holmes,” annoying in “Iron Man 2,” and it’s just acrid in “A Game of Shadows.”

He’s suffering from what I’ve dubbed “Johnny Depp syndrome” – a performance and a persona dubbed iconic will eventually become an imitation and a mere shadow of its former self if repeated multiple times.  And with a movie this poorly plotted, Ritchie needed Downey at his A-game … and wound up getting probably about a C or a C minus-game.  His Holmes, this time around, feels jaded and bored, which makes me wonder if it’s the character or the actor who we are really seeing reflected on the screen.

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