SHERLOCK HOLMES: A GAME SHADOWS is merely the first sequel to Guy Ritchie’s 2009 blockbuster, though it feels like the fourth or fifth film in a tired franchise. Downey and Law’s offbeat chemistry is still there, though they haven’t exactly been given great material to work with.
Swedish actress Noomi Rapace is underused in a supporting role as a Gypsy who helps Holmes and Watson investigate their latest case in the hope of rescuing her brother.
Cue a minute-long montage of Sherlock Holmes on a pony. When this movie lucks into a good joke, it milks it for all it’s worth until the joke stops being funny. The plot, not that it really matters, involves a plan by Holmes’ arch-nemesis, Professor Moriarty—played by Jared Harris—to manipulate a group of anarchists into helping him start a war.
SHERLOCK HOLMES: A GAME OF SHADOWS is loud, with a lot of explosions and slow motion. It seems willing to try just about anything—except of course, actually being funny, involving or exciting. That, and the film's portrayal of the Roma as a bunch of criminals struck me as a tad racist. Those are just a few of the many reasons why I’m giving this a thumbs down.
CHRISTY: Thumbs down from me also, and I don’t mind this whole revision of Sherlock Holmes approach. I’m not going to be a purist. I don’t really care, um, and I usually like Guy Ritchie’s films. I like Snatch. I like Rock N Rolla. I like the inventiveness and the energy of it. Here it’s just really repetitive like once he hammers home that cool, kind of super stylized slow-mo where Robert Downey Jr. will see what’s going to happen ahead of time and spell it out for you like blow by blow a couple times is fine. They go to it like eight times too many, and you realize that’s all he’s got, like his main trick.
IGNATIY: There’s a, you know, maybe one good scene in this film.
CHRISTY: Which one? Tell me which one it is because I can’t find it.
IGNATIY: It’s…it’s where they’re running through the forest. It’s where they’re getting shot at in the forest…
CHRISTY: And the bullets are hitting the trees, okay.
IGNATIY: Yes, and it goes into complete slow motion. It’s a really interesting scene. It does not work at all as an action sequence, and that’s the problem with this film is that a lot of these things just, you know, Sherlock Holmes in a dress isn’t comedy. You know Sherlock Holmes on a meat hook doesn’t automatically make it suspense, and a lot machine gun fire and explosions that doesn’t make for action. You actually have to direct all of these things.
CHRISTY: Well a big loss of action suspense here too is just the grey, bleak kind of suffocating sameness that the look of it is all the same. Um, Law gets nothing to do at all here but be the straight man; the foil to Downey, who is great at a couple, quick quips. They’re very funny. It’s great. Um, Noomi Rapace why is she here? She has nothing at all to do. She comes along on their adventure. I don’t really know why they dragged her along. I mean just to have a woman in the mix is a huge waste of what a great presence she has.
IGNATIY: It’s a waste of pretty much everyone, and it’s definitely a waste of Downey and Law’s chemistry.