Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows is long in the tooth

I will preface this review by stating that the only real reason I wanted to see Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows had more to do with seeing the new The Dark Knight Rises trailer and the previously mentioned The Hobbit preview. I was not disappointed with The Dark Knight Rises trailer, but The Hobbit preview apparently was non-existent (and now reported to be scheduled to show with The Adventures of TinTin). Nonetheless, I sort of liked the first Sherlock Holmes movie, so I settled into my theater seat with a free bag of popcorn and an over-priced Diet Coke.

The movie starts out with action, as to be expected with any Guy Ritchie film, but I find that I like the witty back and forth dialogue between Robert Downey Jr.’s Holmes and Jude Law’s Watson the most entertaining feature of these movies. Fortunately, we are given plenty of that and the chemistry between the two actors cannot be mistaken. The writing is clever and this is where the movie truly excels.

However, it is also Jared Harris’ Moriarty that shines as the clever yang to Holmes’ yin. This character could have easily been a caricature, but thanks to a good script and Harris’ performance, this role truly stands out. In a scene near the end of the movie, where Holmes and Moriarty are battling it out in chess, the banter between the two characters creates a suspensful scene where we realize that the good guys don’t always win.

Also wonderful is Stephen Fry putting in a very “raw” portrayal of Holmes’ brother Mycroft. He is as smart as his brother, and possibly even more quirky. All I will say is that he is a brave actor who bares much more than his soul on screen. Expect to laugh. A lot.

Unfortunately , the film’s action sequences are where things start to drag. If the audience is checking their watches during scenes, it means the film is probably too long. Ritchie’s unique style with these sort of sequences just don’t work when dragged out. I think this film could have been much more exciting by putting the editors to work trimming out all the extra fat. I caught myself nodding off during the middle of the movie during one of these long sequences.

It seems to be a trend in Hollywood now that movies have to have longer running times than they did in the past. This is just not always a good thing. I would have enjoyed this one much better if it had been about 30 minutes shorter.

But I did laugh a bit and didn’t completely fall asleep, so there is that. The movie is entertaining and I did not feel cheated out of the price of the ticket.

2 thoughts on “Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows is long in the tooth

  • December 26, 2011 at 7:52 am

    I just saw this last night and couldn’t disagree more about the action scenes. I thought the movie was fairly well paced between  action and move the story along scenes.  Yes the movie was long and I loved that (more please) But could they put a bit of an intermission so I can go use the facilities please?  LOL  

    As for the Batman trailer – I’d already seen it.  (Who goes to a movie….just to see the trailers? They’re all online now. For free. LOL)  

    More Sherlock please!  (Oh wait. That’s what the BBC is for, hah!) 

    • December 26, 2011 at 11:18 am

      The trailer aired in theaters before it went online, though, so that was the point. Plus it’s not quite the same as watching it in the theater on the big screen. Plus I really needed to get out of the house. LOL

      But yeah, nearly nodded off about halfway through the movie. I definitely prefer the more modern less action-oriented version of Sherlock that Moffat has given us.

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