Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows: Fabulously camp & great fun

Did you see Guy Ritchie‘s first movie interpretation of the legendary genius detective, Sherlock Holmes? Well, whether you did or didn’t, This reviewer will vouchsafe this sequel: it’s wonderful.

But if you don’t like camp, homoerotic relationships, silliness, relentless plotting, amazing (but difficult-to-follow) action sequences – smothered with humour and a smorgasbord of stars having a lot of fabulous time, then don’t see this.

It is great, tremendous fun. A perfect film for the festive and any other holiday season. Well written (by the same writers as the first, but they’re both even sharper and camper than with their first script), Ritchie once again proves that, without the clutches of Madonna, he is and has and does creative, fun, tremendously entertaining films as good as they get.

I loved the first film – saw it several times on DVD. This latest? Better – by far. There are those who were somew legalistic and conflicted in their praise (including the usually superb Philip French. Problems with it? Sure: there’s a mutual metaphorical intellectual masturbation couple of scenes between Professor Moriarty, Holmes’ (and, well, the world’s) evil nemesis, as he and Holmes verbally scale ever greater heights in praising the other. Two gigantic egos doing battle to praise the other out of actual narcissistic self-value; as if to say, I’m so brilliantly clever, I therefore can understand how brilliant clever you are. No YOU are clever. No, nay, YOU are more clever. And so it goes on. Tiresome and unnecessary. Flatulent and fatuous and unnecessary (as if F & F are necessary – ahem).

But, but:  It is hugely entertaining. Visually gripping, a rich plot, consistently fun and engaging performances and more crack-of-the-whip speed than it takes to switch on a light bulb. A thousand times. That’s it’s only other problem: Ritchie is known for his montage sequences and tremendous, sophisticated, clever action scenes, but the time between one split moment and another, even within a montage, is so fast, hundredths of a second, that one’s human eye (or, at least mine) can’t keep up with the visual escapades. This is doubly frustrating, because you want to see the action sequences and what fiendish elements that Holmes sees to be demonstrated in at least sufficient slow motion (is half a second per split screen really too much to ask?! – yes, it seems to Ritchie), yet you are prevented from doing so because everything happens so fast that you are unable actually visually to comprehend exactly what happens. This was the dominating flaw of the first Ritchie Sherlock Holmes in 2009 and the problem is exponentially increased to ridiculous proportions in this sequel.

Actions literally happen so fast that, even in supposed slow-motion (actually not true in itself, as the slow-motion is only a sequence between extremely fast editing that is less than a fraction of a second, preventing you from understanding exactly how marvellous, potentially, how superbly executed, the scenes are).

But, BUT! If you enjoy camp, fun, silly, clever, witty, lighthearted humour; if you appreciate the quality of two grown men who love each other yet cannot name it – their love – fully – but demonstrate it fulsomely in action, if you want action galore and more, then … God yes: I recommend this movie.  Tremendous fun, quick, sharp; it’s the fastest and most entertaining two hours and nine minutes I have ever passed in a cinema. Highly recommended.  If you can’t swallow camp, however, and silliness and tend to take Holmes as an icon beyond dispute or disrepute, then this film isn’t for you. Downey is Downey and what he does best (but the same as in every other film); Law plays foil to Holmes superbly; Rachel McAdams is convincing and Watson’s dog has more magic than Lazarus himself. And Professor Moriaty, as played by Lane Pryce (probably most familar to us in his fab role as Lane Pryce in the Mad Men series) is excellent; albeit Lane Pryce with a beard. If you delight in a delicious sense of humour and frivolity and just simply want to enjoy a couple of hours of maximum fun in the dark room of a cinema: this is that film that will deliver on such expectations. In other words: highly recommended. Have fun, laugh out loud on a few occasions (all the audience did, including me, when I saw it, and enjoy cinema as it is meant to be when it’s not serious but has underlying important messages: great entertainment, well done, well-told and well worth the price of admission.

6 thoughts on “Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows: Fabulously camp & great fun”

  1. Although all of the freshness that was part of the first one is somewhat over-used, the flick is still a lot of fun with Downey Jr., Harris, and Law breathing life into each of their own characters. However, I was kind of disappointed by Noomi Rapace’s role as she just simply stands there and really doesn’t do anything. Regardless though, good review. Check mine out when you can.


    1. Dan the man! – a very fair point re Noomi Rapace – she could have had a much richer role – she struck me as having more talent or potential than Rachel McAdams (not knocking her, though). Will be checking out your blog. Fab blog site title! all best to you, bobby


  2. Often times great entertainment is just what we fillm lovers need in a movie! Fantastic review, I love your blog. The picture up top is incredible. Will return for sure!


    1. Hi Stewart – cheers for your fab message. Sorry for the delay! Looking forward to checking your own site – here’s to 2012, health and happiness – including lots of great movies. Best wishes, bobby


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