By Victoria Guerrero
There’s nothing quite like being underwhelmed by a sequel to one of your favorite movies.
Despite a $40 million opening weekend, ‘Sherlock Holmes: A game of Shadows’ fell victim to the dreaded second movie syndrome and underperformed. While the plot was just as complex as the first, it was the subtle differences in the actors and effects that dragged the movie down a notch.
Directed by Guy Ritchie and starring Robert Downey Jr., the sequel takes the moviegoer on a disorienting trip around Europe to France, Switzerland and Germany. Sherlock Holmes’s mortal enemy Professor Moriarty (played by ‘Madmen’ actor Jared Harris) has been deeply involved in bombings that threaten to push France and Germany towards war. There’s only one man up for the job of saving the day: Watson.
Yes, Watson (played by Jude Law) is the hero of this story. While some of this is due to an all around better plot for the famous detective’s loyal friend, most of it is due to Law’s stable performance throughout the movie. Just as dependable as his character, Law is an unswerving actor. Sadly, his co-star, Robert Downey Jr., can’t say the same. Downey varies over the course of the movies, sometimes acting like Captain Jack Sparrow from ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ and sometimes like a teenage boy who enjoys annoying his unofficial girlfriend Irene Adler (Rachel McAdams). To add, McAdams had a painfully short role of only five minutes. Her femme fatal successor was foreign film star Noomi Rapace as the gypsy fortune teller Simza Heron. Rapace couldn’t fill McAdams’ shoes, however, and stumbled around with a perpetual bloody nose and French accent that made her hard to understand at times. Along with Rapace, Stephan Fry and Jared Harris are also new to this movie. Fry portrays Sherlock’s older brother who is just as smart and twice as lazy, while Harris returns for a bigger role as the infamous Moriarty. Both make the esteemed Sherlock look commonplace at times, which makes the viewer wonder just how many super-geniuses are running around London.
The laughs that had been so prominent in the first movie were lacking in the second. I only chuckled twice, once when Sherlock disguised himself as a drag queen and once involving a pony. The ‘bromance’ between Holmes and Watson is still tangible but at times it feels like an 1890s spin-off of ‘The Hangover’ instead of a mystery flick. Viewers who enjoyed the fight scenes of the first will be slightly disappointed this time. Whether it was the grittiness or the assaulting sound, the slow-motion fight scenes were definitely not the same as the previous movie.
While the movie was worth the $8 to see it in theaters I’m not dying to buy the DVD anytime soon. Of all the movies coming out this holiday season I would put his on your list to go see but nowhere near the top.