Posts tagged jared harris
Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows is written so that you don’t need to have seen the first chapter in order to understand most aspects of the story, so it is easy to forget that it is a sequel. Still, there are weaknesses typical of a second outing in a series.
The movie attempts to follow up on the success of the original by ramping up the action and centering the mystery on a secular (not supernatural as in the original) villain brilliant enough to rival Sherlock.
The plot picks up one year after the events of the original, as Holmes, played by Robert Downey Jr., struggles to recruit the newly married Dr. Watson, played by Jude Law, in pursuing “one last case.”
There is a heavier emphasis on action, misplaced as some may consider it in a detective story. Many of the effects are exciting, although they distract from the true focus of the Sherlock Holmes brand. For better or for worse, if you want to see what trees look like as bullets shred through them in slow motion, this is your movie.
However, Sherlock Holmes is all about baffling mysteries and brilliant detectives, and that critical element is, thankfully, still here (although the plot Holmes unravels in the original is more mystifying).
One of the most entertaining and innovative moments of the original is the opening fight scene, during which Holmes narrates in slow motion and painstaking detail his plan of attack before perfectly executing it in a matter of seconds. This clever effect is brought back with a few creative twists, however, that further develop the idea without coming across as stale.
Jared Harris’s portrayal of Holmes’s rival Professor Moriarty is another high point for the sequel. Moriarty’s quiet, chilling style is effective, although it does carry some weaknesses. His apparent apathy after revealing an important death serves as the first moment when his potential as a villain is displayed, yet the way that the death is swept under the rug is upsetting and disappointing.
All this death, mystery, and villainy is fine and good, but the most enjoyable moments of the movie are seen in the friendship (some might say bromance) that is so key to the franchise. Downey and Law do a great job of subtly revealing signs of admiration for each other (in character of course) while maintaining a borderline icy relationship the majority of the time.
Watching these two interact is the most fun you will have with the movie (especially when one of them cross-dresses…for the good of the case). Unless, of course, you prefer watching a lot of things go “boom.”
All in all, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows is an entertaining depiction of a great intellectual rivalry that benefits from strong acting and action but fails to meet the high standards set by the dynamic plot of the original.
As for the mystery of my prolonged absence, the academic semester turned out to be rigorous to the point that I had to make the decision that academics were more important than my blog endeavors. Still, I hope to balance this upcoming semester with new posts periodically. Anyway, this post is about Sherlock Holmes, and I want to hear what you think, so comment away!
If you like Sherlock, then try:
- Se7en (an intellectual thriller and detective story, albeit with fewer geniuses).
- The Prestige (the mind-bending mystery to end all mysteries).
- Iron Man (also starring Robert Downey Jr. and also featuring plenty of action).