Friday, June 22, 2012

ICFR! 'Sherlock Holmes: Game Of Shadows,' lack of wits

It's too often that Hollywood sequels aim for what audiences like to see and not what audiences like to experience. It's even worse when they miss the mark completely.

This week,  "Sherlock  Holmes: Game Of Shadows" struck me as one of  these rare films: the offspring of a fantastic, intelligent and stylish adaptation that seems to have been locked in the closet and taking swings at a pinata that's not even in the damn room.

(I'm getting to the point. I promise) Even MORE astounding is that the original cast returns with the same director and they even added the fantastically undertoned work of Jared Harris (Mad Men) as Professor Moriarty, Sherlock Holmes' archnemisis. In a rather dry and flavorless movie, Harris adds a hint of deliciously peppered malice.
When Moriarty was hinted at (VERY much in the same vein as The Joker tease in "Batman Begins") in the original Sherlock  Holmes, I was ecstatic. I may be a novice in the world of Holmes, but any childhood nerd knows of the deadly battle of wits between Holmes and Moriarty.

Which brings me to my point: there's not much to fuel the fight in this movie. We open with a quick idea of the volatile political  environment that serves as a backdrop, but there's as much history mentioned between the two characters as there is behind a possible Bob Dylan/Justin Bieber duo album.

That is, of course, except for Moriarty dropping Rachel McAdams' character like she planned the Greek  economy. (Bieber AND political jokes? I'm on fire!)

So we're left with a somewhat aimless march through the paces. The paces being the things producers think will sell and NOT MUCH ELSE. Lots of stylish editing, lots of overly-charming banter, lots of chuckles. NOT. MUCH. ELSE.

Which left me wondering: where is the mystery? Where is the intrigue? Where is the incredible wit of Holmes and Watson?

It's been gutted and replaced with Watson and Holmes acting more like  Captain America (well, Captain England?)  without any super powers.

It seems that "Game Of Shadows" is a hollow attempt to keep  a franchise paletable to the general public by removing any chance of a truly chalenging mystery or compelling story.

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