Dueling Holmes. Downey, Jr in one corner and Cumberbatch in the other. What is a fan to do? Enjoy both, obviously.
With most sequels, the origin movie already covering the birth of the characters, the sequel can go two ways: The first is Aliens. The second is Temple of Doom. And, the third no appearing in this blog post is somewhere in the middle like Robocop 2.
For the most part Sherlock Holmes being played by Robert Downey, Jr. is perfectly fine by me. I’m not a purist, I haven’t read any of the books and besides a steady diet of Jeremy Brett on PBS, that’s about as far as a I go. The supporting characters such as Jude Law playing Doctor Watson is great casting along with Kelly Reilly as his put upon fiance/wife, Mary Watson and Geraldine James playing Mrs. Hudson. Stephen Fry as Mycroft was as everyone else is saying: genius. And, lastly, Jared Harris as Professor James Moriarty. Rachel McAdams returns briefly as Irene Adler and Noomi Rapace as Madam Simza Heron rounds out a full cast.
Knowledge of the first movie is not needed but if you want to play catch up and enjoy a menacing Mark Strong performance, suffice to say: Sherlock knows about Moriarty and now he’s out to stop the Napoleon of Crime. While Sherlock works on his biggest case of the his career, Watson is moving on and his marriage is upcoming. Along the way the stakes are upped while people die around Sherlock many of them just victims while one or two are too close.
While the entire mysticism arc of the last movie left me a little out in the cold, the amount of traveling in this movie felt like an Indiana Jones adventure. The scene of Doctor Watson’s stag party is one of cards and assassins and the lead up to the marriage scene is priceless. Unfortunately, time waits for no one and Moriarty’s henchmen are the one bright spot in this movie because they just keep coming.
The first introduction between Holmes and Moriarty in the halls of academia is great scene since it shows the audience how far Moriarty is going to go.. He tells Sherlock that Watson will not be kept out of the game even if he is on his honeymoon. This is the type of villain we really need in these movies when hero comes on bended knee to tell the villain my partner is off limits, it’s just you and me and the villain says: No.
Throughout the movie The Industrial Age making its way into the era, automatic pistols and rifles. Let’s not forget artillery shells and auto-mobiles.
Unfortunately, Noomi’s Simza while great to see in her opening scene is quickly declawed when she returns to find out where her anarchist brother has gotten too with Sherlock and Watson putting the pieces together of Moriarty’s plan to supply weapons to both sides of a ever growing conflict in Europe.
In the end, the finale takes place in Switzerland and instead of Sherlock solving the crime, Watson and Simza do while Holmes and Moriarty have a game of blitz chess. The scenes between Downey Jr and Harris are really quite well done and while each of the men are genius in their own right, when it comes down to it, they can still fight and that includes each of them out thinking each other out of a fist fight (complete with dueling voice overs) in the end there is only one solution which was well done, quick and a gut punch without being overwrought.
Overall, it’s worth seeing in the theater if you enjoyed the first one.
On a side note: The Dark Knight Rises trailer was in front of Sherlock and I have to say: Wow. I guessing it drops onto the interwebs soon…?