Thursday, December 29, 2011

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows review, better than the first!


When Sherlock Holmes was released in December of 2009, I fell in love with it.  Director Guy Ritchie, and Robert Downey Jr. gave the legendary character a fresh, new spin.  He was an ass kicking genius.  Jude Law played a terrific Watson, also re-imagined as a veteran soldier.  Here we are two years later and the stakes are higher, much higher.  The movie is Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows.  The legendary villain, Professor James Moriarty is featured.  Let's begin.

What I liked about the film:
The Story
The first Sherlock Holmes was a delight.  The story was simple, easy to follow, but had its share of twists and turns.  What I liked most about that movie, was the way Guy Ritchie gave the audience the clues as the story developed, but it took Holmes to figure it all out.  The second film features an even better story.  The basic premise is nothing new; the villain tries to start a war so he can profit from the goods necessary to fight the war for both sides.  This was pretty much the story of X-Men: First Class.  What makes it so much more intriguing in this film is the way Moriarty's plan unfolds.  I wont say anything else.  Check it out!

The Acting
Roberty Downey Jr. is so witty, smart, charming, you can't help but like him.  Holmes' mind works differently than the rest of us; and Ritchies imaginative style portrays that thought process perfectly.  Jude Law holds his own when he's with Downey.  They have an undeniable chemistry.  The characters themselves need each other more than either is willing to admit, and the actors portrayed that perfectly.  New comer Noomi Rapace plays a gypsy woman who is essential to the story.  She has little to do in the way of acting; but does a fine job nonetheless.

The Villain
The stakes are much higher when Professor Moriarty comes out from the shadows.  Jared Harris plays the character perfectly!  He is the yin to Holmes' yang.  Yet they are equal in so many ways.  They're smart, analytical and both men can fight.  Harris plays the villain so well, we hate him by the end of the movie.  We hate him because he's a true threat to our hero.  He really is the Joker to Holmes' Batman.  Loved this character.

The Action/Direction
Remember this scene: running through the forest.  I say this all the time: 'I want action movies to show me something I've never seen before'.  Guy Ritchie and company did just that.  The action is bigger and better than the first.  It's choreographed beautifully, and executed with precision.  Minus a silly chase towards the beginning of the film, the action is top notch.

The Music
Hans Zimmer is one of my favorite composers today.  He's given us memorable score after memorable score.  The 'Pirates' films, Christopher Nolan's 'Batman' films, The Lion King, and, and, and.  You get it.  Zimmer's score is reminiscent of the times in the film, but are fresh and exciting.  I felt like, as crazy as the action got on screen, the score kept it grounded.  Loved this soundtrack, looking forward to picking it up.


What I didn't like about the film:
The Set Up
I don't want to spoil anything so I will be careful.  I also don't want to talk about plot too much.  But anyone who knows how profitable these films have been knows, there will be sequels.  Plain and simple.  What I didn't appreciate was the set up for the next film.  I'll keep it at that.  If you see the movie, please comment, email me, or Tweet me to discuss.


The Verdict:
Bigger and better than the first
This movie is not going to get the same attention as a superhero film, but it should.  It's bigger and better than the first.  It has a tight script, a better villain (sorry Mark Strong), and amazing action sequences.  Guy Ritchie has created a franchise for this generation to appreciate the literature this character was adapted from.  Robert Downey Jr. is his terrific self, as are Jude Law and Jared Harris.  I love the addition of Noomi Rapace, even with the little she had to do.  Great music and direction round out the kudos.  I very much enjoyed this film.

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