Robert Downey Jr. returns in 'Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows': movie review
Robert Downey Jr. recaps his leading role in 'Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows,' the franchises second installment.
Daniel Smith/Warner Bros. Pictures/AP
Watching Robert Downey Jr. recap his leading role in â€śSherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows,â€ť I had a sinking feeling. One of our finest actors is lucratively entombed in not one but two blockbuster franchises, the other being â€śIron Man.â€ť Neither does much to show off his immense gifts.Â
Iâ€™m not a fan of this franchise, now in its second installment and counting. Turning Holmes into a mixed martial artist with a penchant for dressing up in drag is carrying revisionism too far. Why even bother to call Downeyâ€™s character Sherlock Holmes at all? Probably the vast audience for these films has never read a "Sherlock Holmes" story anyway. If anything, â€śGame of Shadows,â€ť even more so than 2009â€™s â€śSherlock Holmes,â€ť resembles nothing so much as a Victorian spinoff of â€śThe Wild Wild Westâ€ť TV series (which franchise producer Joel Silver turned into a dreadful 1999 feature film).
The "Sherlock Holmes" stories were a celebration of the powers of deduction. I guess that sort of thing is just too old-school now? The story line for â€śGame of Shadowsâ€ť has something to do with a plot for world domination by Holmesâ€™s nemesis Professor Moriarty (Jared Harris), who comes across as a boring Bond villain. (Holmes and Moriarty even get to square off on the chessboard.)Â
What this film really celebrates is crunch-and-thud video-game-style action, not especially well choreographed by director Guy Ritchie. Noomi Rapace, so striking in the Swedish â€śThe Girl With the Dragon Tattooâ€ť films, makes her English-language debut in a disposable turn as a hot-blooded gypsy. Jude Law is back as Dr. Watson, who, deliberately I think, seems to be Holmesâ€™s true love interest here. They make for quite the couple on the dance floor.Â Grade: C- (Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, and some drug material.) Â