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02 January 2012 @ 01:16 pm
The Game is Afoot......sort of  
This isn't going to be as lengthy as my On Stranger Tides "review," but I felt like typing up my rather conflicting thoughts on the new Sherlock Holmes movie.

First off, I loved the first movie. It's on of my all time favourites, and so naturally I was excited about the sequel. So it was rather alarming when after nearly an hour of watching A Game of Shadows, I found myself wondering just what on earth was happening. Though actually, it was less what was happening - and more why it was happening. The first half of the movie had almost no real plot to speak of, other than 'Moriarty is bad. You should probably do something about that.' It was quite literally scene after scene of randomness. And while at the time I assumed there would be some sort of relevance revealed later on, for the most part there wasn't.

Robert Downey Jr's Holmes is one of my favourite on-screen performances (up there with Tony Stark. Man-crush? Moi?) but it honestly felt as though they were relying on him too much to entertain. And while I can't fault his portrayal of the character, I was very aware that the movie felt as though it was stalling for time, and RDJ was a set of keys being jangled in front of our faces.

Once the plot did get going, then things became a lot more enjoyable, but the film still had to deal with some baggage it had introduced earlier. One truly baffling scene has the group escaping from one of Moriarty's factories, filled with explosions and over-used camera effects (you know the one where the person's head stays stationary and everything else around them moves, as though the camera is attached to their face? You'll be seeing a lot of that in this movie), and during said scene, a bunch of extras get gunned down as they flee through the trees. As they reach the train, another extra is shot, but the movie treats it as though it should have massive impact - this one nameless guy gets killed, and suddenly this emotional music starts up and it all goes slow-mo. Who was that man? Me and my best friend were both baffled as to who this guy was and why his death was treated with so much more emotion than all the other random extras. For a moment I thought it was Watson that had been shot - that's how important it seemed, before we realised all our heroes were safe and sound. Truly bizarre.

Another big issue for me was Irene Adler. Guess what. She dies. She's in the movie for the first twenty or so minutes, and then Moriarty kills her. Her death isn't even shown properly - you just hear it, while Moriarty watches. Her role in the movie was really weird - she appears to be working for Moriarty again, but sort of wants out, and then he kills her. I can only assume this was done to make Moriarty seem like more of a threat, because it really serves no other purpose. Holmes only has one scene where he appears to grieve for her, and then he's back to his usual self, and it's never mentioned again. Now I'm not sure how many people realise this, but she's kind of an important character. You don't just kill off the only person Holmes has ever truly loved at the end of a bizarrely long cameo, and then have it never really brought up afterwards.

Speaking of stuff from the first movie, remember the transmitter that Moriarty stole? The one that was the big twist because we thought the gas and killing parliament was the big plan? The really important transmitter that Holmes theorised could revolutionise the world? Not mentioned once. Maybe it broke.

Weirdly, another thing that bugged me were the gay jokes. In the first movie, they poked fun at the fact that it's inevitable people will pair Holmes and Watson up, and the movie's awareness of this was always amusing. This time, I felt they just went too far. It was hilarious at first, but by the end of the movie you just want to shout "Yes, people will pair them up, please for the love of god just stop." I wouldn't be surprised if they actually are planning on having Holmes and Watson become a couple, given how relentless they were with the jokes and how casually they killed off Irene. Either that or they really are just clueless as to how fandoms work.

I could go on, but I'll spare you. I did enjoy the movie, and I do want to see it again. But if you loved the first film, there's no garantee that the second will live up to your expectations. Is it bigger? Yes. Is it funnier? Yes. Is it better? No.