Sunday, January 15, 2012

Dearest Watson

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows
2011. 129 minutes. USA/UK. Directed by Guy Ritchie. Watchdate: 12/26/2011.

Disclaimer: The best part about this movie is how gay it is. Usually you don't get a forbidden gay romance like this in a big Hollywood action blockbuster, and if you do it's usually about submerged homoeroticism rather than fine screwball gay romance complete with cross dressing and jealously of hetero relations which this movie has beyond its capacity to hold. I will say that on its behalf.

Robert Downey Jr. had a one-two punch a few years ago with two clever, fun blockbusters that made use of his considerable charisma in just the right way. Now comes time for their disappointing sequels. Just as with Iron Man 2, the second Sherlock Holmes outing has occasional moments or sequences that recapture or even flirt with exceeding the pleasures of the original. But for the most part, it just feels like a waste. The action scene innovations of the first movie that focused on Holmes' intellectualization of fighting and stuff like that show up again but not only have they lost their novelty, they aren't even as well thought out this time. Also, Sherlock Holmes for some reason  uses a vast number of disguises that strain at producing mirth but succeed easily at producing incredulity. The costume bits felt like they'd be more at home in Austin Powers or god forbid - Scooby Doo. Except for one scene at the beginning, Moriarity is largely wasted. It's a terrible shame to because there was a clever idea behind all of this that upped the stakes and did everything that a sequel is supposed to do. The idea of it being this precursor to world wars I was down with and there was a whole George Bernard Shaw's Major Barbara vibe that I could have gone with fully had the execution been better. But the gay romance part of it worked very well.

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