Saturday, 24 December 2011

268: Review - Sherlock Holmes, A Game of Shadows

CAUTION: Yen's blog contains harsh language and even harsher notions of propriety. Reader discretion is advised.

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows poster

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (2011)
23rd December 2011. Location: Cinema

I don't care what anyone says, I fucking love a Guy Ritchie film. Okay, maybe apart from Revolver. Trying too hard with that one. Anyway, taken as 'an action film with Sherlock Holmes in it', I thoroughly enjoyed the first instalment of Ritchie's re-imagining, and I was expecting great things of this. I don't ask a lot; entertain me.

So, you can picture my reaction when the sequel thoroughly met all of my expectations.

Seriously. I thought this was great. Although I like the various incarnations of Holmes, I'm a civilian fan if I'm being honest. I've got no real baggage, and as I said, I'm always up for the Ritchiefication of a story. The same liberties have been taken with character names, plot points and locations as in the first film, just as the storytelling style and fast cutting have also carried over. If you didn't like the first one, you won't like this. Almost goes without saying, really.


Still here? Good. So, the movie's set in 1891, and concentrates on Professor Moriarty's plans to buy munitions factories and medical facilities across Europe, and then start a world war and reap the profits. In that respect, it reminded me a lot of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (which I also loved. There. I said it). This culminates in a showdown at a peace summit in Reichenbach, and I shouldn't have to tell you where that's headed.

Whereas the first movie had an initially (if debunked) supernatural element, this one steers clear of it entirely, relying instead on a series of clues, chases and bluffs. There are four distinctly separate acts, in four distinct locations. As Moriarty is fully introduced early in the proceedings, and as his modus operandi is explained at each turn, it definitely feels like more of a game of cat and mouse than the mysteries we're used to with Holmes. But as I said, I view this as more of an action-adventure which has Holmes in it, so it's no large bugbear for me. The only nagging I had was that the inevitable ending wasn't left open-ended enough for me. I'm okay with the final scene being there, but would have preferred it as an after-the-credits bonus so that the casual audience won't get it. See? I can be a bit Holmes-snobby. As it is, things are wrapped up a little too neatly for my tastes, given the potential they had.

But, I was still thoroughly entertained by it. A worthy successor.


Oh, and they filmed bits of it at the railway centre ten minutes walk away from my house. We had much fun picking out the actual-set from the greenscreened-in items. Although that's about as train-geeky as I'm likely to get, I'm afraid.

• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.

• This is a personal blog. The views and opinions expressed here represent my own thoughts (at the time of writing) and not those of the people, institutions or organisations that I may or may not be related with unless stated explicitly.

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