Holmes is back in super slow motion making his deductions look like a F1 race.
Guy Richie is at the helm once more as we delve into the intriguing world of mystery and mayhem that is Sherlock Holme’s life. All the troupe are back, Downey Jnr. as Sherlock, Jude Law as the mustachioed Watson and Jared Harris (Mad Men and son to Richard) as the archest of nemesi Prof. Moriarty. This really is quite the boys club with the female characters taking a back seat, Rachel McAdams is on and gone faster than you can say 221b Baker Street. Noomi Rapace as the fortune teller and Kelly Reilly as Watson’s wife are merely present as eye candy and comic relief leaving the men to get down to the serious business of playing chess and dressing in drag.
Clocking in at just over two hours the film is quite bloated and clunky, the first has an almost identical running time but seemed to flow a lot better. What was enticing about the first film – and I did find it to be very enjoyable – was its novelty, the film gave a much needed injection to the image of Holmes with Richie’s signature slow motion action and slick violence. Here however there are no new gimmicks just the same parlour trick shown over and over again. Richie should be administered with a mild electric shock every time he decides to use slow motion, the number of instances would have made John Woo blush. With such a long and winding build up the ending plays out more like a damp squib than a dazzling Catherine wheel.
The performances can’t be faulted, Law and Downey Jnr. are on form as the formidable double act sometimes moving more into bro-mance territory than is necessary. A cameo from Stephen Fry as Sherlock’s brother passes the time and the female characters however limited their appearances perform with ease. Without question the star of the show is Moriarty, Harris exudes the cold calculating menace of Moriarty with ease making you feel a rare thing, admiration and respect for a villain.
With most film franchises these days (my walking stick and pipe are in the post) they outstay their welcome, Pirates of the Caribbean, Star Wars etc. and it would seem Holmes will join the cannon too as it storms ahead at the box office. Having watched the second instalment I felt a bit cheated, I was game for new adventures and thrills but instead felt empty as when you realise it’s just a shadow on the wall and not a bird.
Guy Ritchie / Michele Mulroney & Kieran Mulroney / Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Jude Law, Noomi Rapace, Stephen Fry, Rachel McAdams, Kelly Reilly and Jared Harris / 129 min / Action, Adventure / Release: 16 December 2011 (Irl/UK/Canada/US)