Sci Fi Sunday — Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows
I loved the Sherlock Holmes books so much as a kid, I reread the entire series every summer cover to cover for several years running. You better bet that when the movie franchise was relaunched with Robert Downey Jr., I was all over it like a starving cat with a chicken leg. I didn’t get a chance to catch the first movie until it came out on DVD, and it was so unmemorable that to this day, the Hubs insists he has not seen it (yes, he has — with me). So when A Game of Shadows was released this holiday season, I thought long and hard about whether or not to spend the money. Then I took the two oldest kids with me and left the Hubs home with Youngest.
Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows is much better than the first movie. The plot is complex but understandable, the characters of Holmes and Watson are better developed, and the new slow-motion asides to show Holmes’ thought process are a neat addition. There seems to be more humor than I remember in the first movie, and the secondary characters are particularly well conceived. Stephen Fry makes a wonderful appearance as Mycroft, and Kelly Reilly is a trenchant Mary Watson. I read a review that said Noomi Rapace is wasted in her role as a gypsy fortune-teller, but I disagree. Her role is central to the plot and her swagger suits the character well. All in all, A Game of Shadows was a delightful bit of holiday entertainment for my family. The violence is cartoonish and most of the sexual innuendo will be over younger kids’ heads, but I do think the PG-13 rating is justified if only for the length of the movie and the risk of boredom. My 13-year-old laughed in the right places, while my 11-year-old didn’t seem to catch some of the nuances although he enjoyed the movie. Go ahead and catch it in the theatre if you get the chance.
Edited to add: I am publishing this review under Sci Fi Sunday because of the steampunk elements in this version of Sherlock Holmes. Holmes stories would usually be classified as mystery, not sci fi, but this movie utilizes more advanced technology than would have been available in the Victorian era. In fact, the denouement of the film depends heavily on this advanced technology which makes it squarely steampunk in my view.