In case you forgot what type of film you were watching, the film helpfully begins with a big ole’ explosion – BAM! IT’S AN ACTION MOVIE! – in France, which ace detective Sherlock Holmes (Robert Downey Jr.) discovers may be related to a series of other explosions dotted around Europe. At the same time as discovering this, Sherlock meets Professor James Moriarty (Jared Harris), esteemed mathematician and confidant of royalty. Of course Moriarty isn’t your typical villain. He doesn’t make a sinister entrance, there isn’t dark brooding music playing every time he’s on screen, he isn’t motivated by a hunger for power, he doesn’t have a platoon of dumb minions & a younger sidekick with a special ability, nor does he create an elaborate death trap for Sherlock and explain his plan assuming that he’s about to kill Holmes anyway. Because that would be clichéd. And shit writing. Which this definitely isn’t, ok?
To stop Moriarty, Holmes must first get rid of all the female characters we’ve been introduced to and stop Watson (Jude Law) going on a honeymoon, while enlisting the help of his brother Mycroft (Stephen ‘we-hope-it-does-well-in-Britain-too’ Fry) and mystic gypsy Simza (Noomi Rapace). There are some great three dimensional characters here, for example Downey Jr is just so English in this movie, he even pronounces certain words using the American pronunciation, just to throw us off guard. Fry also excels in his role as a ‘linguistic clever guy’ giving plenty of subtle winks to the camera. For instance, at one point he says “there’ll be a car in every city in the world 20 years from now”, which actually happened! Ah, characters predicting the future always amuses me. There’s also some witty humour to lighten the mood (SPOILER: LOL, it’s like Holmes and Watson are gay, LOL fat people are fat, LOL old people are old).
Many have noted the sparky on screen chemistry between Downey Jr and Law – in the first one they were either engaging in witty, irrelevant back and forths or smartly investigating the crime scene. Not like Sherlock 2, in which they smartly investigate crime scenes and engage in witty, irrelevant back and forths – it’s good to see these aren’t just the same characters and that they’ve evolved somehow from the previous instalment. But at least Guy Ritchie’s direction is as cerebral as the dialogue. He cleverly shoots objects which may come back later in the story in subtle close ups. This really helps you relax because you don’t have to worry about using your brain to figure out the plot (which would’ve been annoying!) and it feels like the lovely filmmaker is leading you by the hand. More than this, Ritchie’s cinematographer Phillipe Rousselot gives the film a unique, gritty look that doesn’t reminisce at all of Tim Burton’s (Rousselot worked for Burton, so it’s good to see him variate here).
If ‘stories’ aren’t really your thing, then don’t worry movie goers, there’s plenty of SLOW MOTION ACTION, YEAAAAAAH! TREES BLOWING UP, YEAH! And for those who think this film strays too far off Arthur Conan Doyle’s original book series, just look at this extract from the author himself:
As Watson and Holmes dash through the forest, one of the bad guys let’s off a huge motherf*cking gun that totally tears shit up. BOOM! BANG! AAAAAARGH! NOOOO! Other shit of a similar nature then proceeded to go down.
Anyway, I definitely recommend you go see Sherlock Holmes 2 if you enjoy the intelligent, well written blockbuster movies Hollywood seems to have churned out twice a week this year.
By the way, it isn’t opposite day.*
*Which on opposite day, means it is opposite day.