23/12/2011

AT THE CINEMA: SHERLOCK HOLMES 2 - A GAME OF SHADOWS


What did you do last weekend? Christmas shopping? I hope you had as much fun as I did . I  went to Rome with my husband and we had a pleasant evening, only we were more trying to avoid the Christmas shopping crowd than joining them. So, we hid inside a ...cinema!
Avoiding the shopping crowd was not our only aim. We had seen the first Guy Ritchie's Sherlock Holmes 2009 film  (my review) - we had liked it a lot - so we didn't want to miss the second one: Sherlock Holmes, A Game of Shadows. 
The worst of Victorian London is on screen from the first moments:  its smell of dirt and alcohol, the misty nights and the fights. If you've seen Holmes/ Downey Jr in the first film, you know he is not a bit the dusty, stiff, prim detective of the tradition, wearing a deerstalker and a trench coat, but a cool action hero, a smart dandy, free and easy, irresistible and unbeatable.  Either you love him or you hate him but seen the figures of the success of the  first installment, it seems very difficult to resist him!

Think of Watson! How hard he tries to avoid Sherlock and the dangerous life he represents? How stubbornly he rejects his asking for favours and tries instead to focus on his imminent wedding with Mary? But can he resist his friend's call? No, not at all. So, after an adventurous bachelor party spent with Holmes (investigating more than celebrating his friend) in a dubious local, he gets to the church on his wedding day like Petruchio in The Taming of the Shrew: dirty, scratched, with a torn suit and completely drunk.
In this second movie Robert Downey Jr. has been joined again by Jude Law as Watson (how good he is since he left the role of the hansome bloke! not that he has become ugly but ... ok, you know what I mean),  Kelly Reilly as romantic Mary Morstan , Watson's betrothed ( I can't remove her snobbish smirk in her previous roles from my memory and simply see her as the sweet heroine she should be here) , and  Rachel MacAdams,  as tough Irene Adler (in a very reduced role, this time). But there are great new names and characters like an always brilliant Stephen Fry as Mycroft Holmes, Sherlock's brother (great humour and ...an  elegant nearly-full-frontal naked scene! Poor Mary was shocked and he was impassible), or  Noomi Rapace,  as the gipsy sexy beauty Sim.

Intrigue, adventure and mystery grow in "A Game of Shadow" with the arrival of Holmes's super nemesis, his dark alter ego: Professor Moriarty (Jared Harris).
Sherlock suspects Moriarty of killing the Austrian Prince: Moriarty's ambition is to make the world need his new mass production of weapons  and plots to lead the world on the brink of a new war. To stop him, Sherlock is ready to risk his life, but not those of his friends. So, to defend Watson and his newly married wife, Mary, he even disguises himself as a woman, throws his friend's wife into a river from a moving train and much, much more.

Comedy, action, rhythm,  irony, beautiful costumes and excellent photography, CGI and special effects made this classic adventure appealing to a vast contemporary audience: from teenagers and young people whose tastes have been spoilt by videogames, digital images and action-movie superheroes to more mature fans of the smart, cerebral detective.
I love this new Sherlock, who is great at kung fu, climbs, jumps, dives like a Marvel superhero, who is almost moved to tears on his best friend's wedding day, who practises mimicing his surroundings but who,  even in scratches, dirt and  blood  never loses his English aplomb. I joined the rest of the audience clapping their hands when the final twist made all of us enthusiastic!

By the way, I'm revising BBC Sherlock series 1 on Italian TV (every Thursday, 9 p.m. on Italia 1) before watching the new series starting on BBC1 on January 1, 2012. I like the new TV Sherlock (Benedict Cumberbatch) and his Mr Watson (Martin Freeman) , too. 

9 comments:

Flo said...

I can't wait to see this movie! I loved the first one so much and from your review I think I will love this second one, too! :) I'm planning to see it after Christmas so in the meantime I' staying away for everything spoilery :P
I watched the BBC Sherlock back when it first aired in UK and I'm trying very hard to make all my family and friends watch now that it's on the Italian TV. I think it's amazing.
Two very different kinds of Sherlock Holmes but both are great!

Happy holidays,
- Flavia

MARIA GRAZIA said...

@Flo
I hope my post isn't too spoilery :P
Thanks for dropping by, Flavia, and commenting. Happy Christmas Holidays!

Judy said...

I enjoyed this movie too - saw it a few days ago with my husband and son. Wishing you a very happy Christmas, MG.

MARIA GRAZIA said...

@Judy
Hello, Judy. I'm glad to hear from you and to know you find this movie good too. Merry Christmas!

Rahul said...

Maybe it is just me but it hard to think of anyone as Sherlock Holmes other than Jeremy Brett, the late actor who played it to near absolute perfection in the BBC granada TV series. That was a work of art so near to the description of Holmes by Sir Doyle that you began to doubt if Sir Doyle had seen Brett through a time machine and written Holmes or vice versa. I have seen many movies and serials of Holmes by various productions but Brett can never be replaced as Holmes. For me, Holmes never dies at Reichenbach Falls (though Doyle was forced to get him back in the Adventure of the empty house). For me, Holmes died the day Brett died. Every great actor or director once in their lifetime gets buried under a tomb of immmortality because of one performance or movie (Ramesh Sippy could never shake off SHOLAY....never). Same with Brett...till his end, he could never be anyone other than Holmes.
I tried seeing Holmes Part 1 as potrayed by Robert Downey jr.....How does one describe it?Too painful to watch one of the greatest fictional literary figures ever being massacred by mediocrity. I stopped after 20 minutes and went back to the comfort of youtube to see Brett in my favorite story of all...The Adventure of the Dancing Men. No offence against Downey Jr. He may be a fine actor but the nuances you need to play the mad genius of Holmes.....sorry....no way. It's like asking any actor of today to re-enact Vijay Verma of DEEWAR...That was a role that Amitabh was born to play.

phylly3 said...

My family saw this movie the last weekend before Christmas. I really do love Robert Downey Jr. I can accept his portrayal of Holmes because I know it is a much more fantastical version. What I found difficult was some of the action was so fast, it was hard to follow. After too much of that my brain shuts down! My husband even dozed off! (We were pretty tired from Christmas shopping).
So, while I very much enjoyed the performances, and the cinematography I do wish we didn't have to have every movie so jazzed up to appeal to young people's short attention spans. :)
Very nice review MG!
Hope you had a Merry Christmas!

A Scattering said...

Hi Maria, I follow Flying High and really enjoy it!

My husband and I went to see Sherlock Holmes on December 23 and enjoyed it even more that the first movie.

On December 26th we saw The Adventures of TinTin in 3D on an IMAX screen and that was wonderful as well.

I wish you and your loved ones a very Happy New Year!

Elaine
Ontario, Canada

MARIA GRAZIA said...

@Rahul
Dear Rahul, I'm sorry to hear you didn't like Guy Ritchie's Sherlock. I've never liked old Sherlock that much, never being a fan of detective stories but thanks to this amusing, brilliant new versions (BBC TV series is definitely good too!) I'm re-evaluating Conan Doyles's detective.
Never mind. Any opinion is always well-accepted on FLY HIGH! Especially if thoroughly and kindly stated, as you did.
@Phylly3
My husband also complained about the action scenes as being too fast to be understood and enjoyed. I simply thought it was me who couldn't enjoy them instead ... I was in good company! Thanks for sharing your impressions on FLY HIGH!
@A Scattering
Dear Elaine,your smiling face is familiar to me now! Thanks for following and commenting on a regular base :-)
You saw Tin Tin, you say and ... The Hobbit Trailer on a huge screen too??? LUCKY WOMAN!!!
Glad to hear you enjoyed Sherlock as I did (though not more than the first movie).

Happy New Year to the three of you!MG

buddy2blogger said...

Nice review of the movie. Downey Jr is a very interesting Holmes.

I liked the first movie. I need to check this out.

Cheers!