Going into this movie, I didn’t exactly know what to expect. The reviews for this movie have been lukewarm to bad, but that didn’t deter me. It was a chance to go to a movie with a friend, and the experience has been enjoyable, to say the least. Up front, I will say that I very much enjoyed this movie. It was watching the reviews for this movie that made me realize that I wouldn’t want to be a film critic.
There is most definitely a bias on the part of film reviews. When there are films that so clearly suck, like The Last Airbender, but they get good reviews, you can tell that much. But for film reviewers like Siskel and Ebert (back when they were around), you can’t watch as many movies as they do without feeling like it is kind of a drag. For real, that can’t be the most fun job after a while.
But back to the film, the story is pretty good. It doesn’t pick up immediately where the previous film had left off, and never addresses if Holmes solved the case he said was back open in the first movie. However, it does have an interesting opening. It moves very quickly. (There are going to be a lot of spoilers here, so don’t read it if you don’t want to know) This is a good thing. It begins with the reveal of our main villain, Professor James Moriarty (played by Jared Harris), the death of Irene Adler (reprised by Rachel McAdams, and thank god, because she annoyed in the first movie), and the plans for Watson’s marriage to finally happen.
While old characters die off, new ones are introduced. Noomi Rapace, the girl from the good version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (hint, it’s the Swedish version) was introduced, playing a gypsy who is being hunted by Moriarty.
The performances in this movie were very good. Robert Downy Jr. and Jude Law are still an amazing duo. It never ceases to amaze how Downy Jr. has this charm that can make any role he plays that much better. And it is cool to see Rapace doing a totally different role than Lisbeth from GWtDT. A lot of critics said that this film felt slow and like it was boring. I disagree.
The mental game between Moriarty and Sherlock was cool, it was nice to see this film get a lot more serious than the previous film, and the action sequences were a lot more interesting. The last action sequence with Holmes and Moriarty was kind of interesting, because it showed a back and forth battle, but it was all a battle of wits. Holmes knew he couldn’t win physically, so he had to be smarter than his opponent.
What made this film especially good was the over-bearing darkness of it. The shadows were used very well in this film. It hardly ever had a bright ray of sunshine, and it quickly lost it. When a film is able to use shadows to its benefit, that’s a good thing. Guy Richie has a gift at using atmosphere to his benefit, and in this film, it was done very well.
All in all, while this wasn’t a great film, it was a very fun winter blockbuster. Critics may call it slow and boring, but I call it good for its genre, and that’s all a lot of films can ever ask for. Is it Guy Richie’s best work? No. But judge the film on its merits, and enjoy.