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IN SHORT: Better than the first one. [Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, and some drug material. minutes]
When we were young, yours Cranky became acquainted with a writer named Walter Gibson who, as "Maxwell Grant" created The Shadow , friend to both Harry Houdini and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. So, if we were to play the "Kevin Bacon game," with appropriate substitutions, we would link to Doyle in 2. Due to the connection just mentioned, we made sure that we had read as many tales of The Shadow and Sherlock Holmes as were available to a teenager back in the 1970s -- It's amazing the stories you get told if you know just a little bit about the person you are talking to. <g>
What was missing, for us, in the first Sherlock Holmes film, was the feeling that the screenwriter actually knew the continuity of what he was writing about. Of course, film puts some restrictions on a franchise that print does not -- Doyle had many stories with which to establish the villainy of Holmes' greatest adversary, Professor James Moriarty (Jared Harris) and he never had to think twice about the any moral questions raised about the personal relationship of Holmes (Robert Downey Jr. ) and his friend and colleague, Dr. John Watson (Jude Law). They were not questioned in the 19th century. Period.
Late in the 20th century such questions were raised. They are now disposed of in Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, which uses Dr. Watson's engagement to the lovely Mary (Kelly Reilly) to introduce Holmes' once smarter but now downright eccentric brother Mycroft (Stephen Fry) and the aforementioned Moriarty to the cast of characters.
Yes, we're not supposed to compare to Source Material, except that Mycroft's mental superiority was the main reason Sherlock developed the obsessive attention to detail that made him the world's greatest detective (in a time when police forces did not maintain their own staff of detectives -- or have you never wondered why Scotland Yard functions separately from the British police force?)
But since our right side has stopped working, and because we liked this edition of Holmes, we're going to cheat and steal from the notes (even if the new writers dishonor continuity, which they do)...
There is a new criminal mastermind at large. He is Professor James Moriarty (Jared Harris). Not only is he Holmes' intellectual equal, but his capacity for evil, coupled with a complete lack of conscience, may give him an advantage over the renowned detective. Around the globe, headlines break the news: a scandal takes down an Indian cotton tycoon; a Chinese opium trader dies of an apparent overdose; bombings in Strasbourg and Vienna; the death of an American steel magnate... No one sees the connective thread between these seemingly random events—no one, that is, except Holmes, who has discerned a deliberate web of death and destruction. At its center sits a singularly sinister spider: Moriarty. Holmes' investigation into Moriarty's plot becomes more dangerous as it leads him and Watson out of London to France, Germany and finally Switzerland. But the cunning Moriarty is always one step ahead, and moving perilously close to completing his ominous plan. If he succeeds, it will not only bring him immense wealth and power but alter the course of history.
If you hated the first Holmes, as we did, you will be very happy with Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows. If you loved the first Holmes, you will be really happy with Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows.
On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Ten Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, he would have paid . . .
A jolly good sit.
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