If you haven’t been to see Sherlock Holmes 2: A Game of Shadows, by all means go see it before it leaves the theaters. Budge and I went to see it yesterday with one of the many movie gift cards we acquired at Christmas and I was completely pleased with the movie as a whole. I realize some people — particularly movie snobs — will think I’m daft, but this film was crafted well enough and cast well enough to be considered for an Oscar. Now I have no delusions of it even being nominated, but if it does get on the slate, it will be the biggest Hollywood coup since Shakespeare in Love topped Saving Private Ryan for Best Picture.
As far as the cast, no one in Hollywood plays a manic dissolute independently wealthy hero as well as Robert Downey, Jr. I am somewhat biased in favor of Mr. Downey, I must confess, because I love to root for the underdog and not very long ago, RDJ was considered, rightly, by many in Hollywood as a washed up has been whose taste for alcohol and drugs had derailed a promising career. I think he has channeled some of that real world skid row gutter experience into characters like the alcoholic Tony Stark and the cocaine addicted Sherlock Holmes to bring a dimension to the screen other actors would be hard pressed to duplicate.
Jude Law as Watson comes across as anything but a sidekick second banana. Far from just a sober baseline foil for Holmes’ mania, Law plays the retired army surgeon as a concerned friend and worthy successor to Holmes’ masterful detective work. He also shows an audience how to help an addict but avoid the pitfalls of co-dependence. Jared Harris also gives a masterful performance as the brilliant but depraved Professor Moriarty — the one man whose intellect and powers of planning are a match, if not quite superior to Holmes’ own skills. When Harris and Downey share the screen, the air fairly crackles with the tension of two brilliant narcissistic geniuses crossing razor sharp intellects.
One particularly good part of this movie that I noticed and I hope others do as well is the marvelous music played throughout the film. From the somber strains of Don Giovanni to the lively wailing of an Irish fiddle, the music is ever-present and ever-changing but always maintaining a goal of helping move the action forward. I don’t know if the studio will release a soundtrack, but I for one would welcome it.
To sum up, this sequel is every bit as good as the first film and for my part attains the rare pedestal held by other second runs like Terminator 2 as even a measure superior to the original. It is more than just an action flick. It is a thinking person’s movie and it is loaded with great lines, great performances, and great music.
Wikipedia: Terminator 2: Judgment Day is a 1991 science fiction action film directed by James Cameron and written by Cameron and William Wisher Jr. →