So, contrary to my better judgment (wink, wink,) I finally watched Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows a couple days ago. Actually, rather to my surprise, it was better than I was expecting!
There were lots of bombs and explosions (The Great Game, anyone?) and many other non-Holmesian situations including cars, kisses, dancing, machine guns, an abundance of fist fights, and many other things. But, I think, this is where we distinguish a great Sherlock Holmes from a bad Sherlock Holmes – even if the situations (and all the trimmings) are utterly ridiculous and completely non-Holmesian, does Holmes still seem like Holmes? As in the Basil Rathbone movies, Holmes is “modernized,” up against the Nazis, driving cars, flying in plains, and a multitude of other things that are quite unlike the trimmings of the original Sherlock Holmes – but somehow, despite all of this, Rathbone is Holmes. I’m afraid to say, Robert Downy Jr. ceased to be Sherlock Holmes at the moment he left London (or perhaps even before.)
I have to say, though, that the creators of Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows certainly got something right in their take on Professor James Moriarty, (but just as a side note, what in the world was with the beard?) Professor Moriarty was really quite good. His personality was a great deal like I had imagined in the books, and he had the well-hidden, twisted, even slightly deranged quirk that I think is often lacking in incarnations of Moriarty. I think the callous cruelty with which he executed the torture scene (the singing! Oh wow!) in contrast to his (although un-canonical) habit of feeding pigeons, was extremely clever of the writers – it was well played, and quite freaky – which is good, I like a freaky Moriarty. Now to mention the ending “battle” between Holmes and Moriarty – that was just… wow! I literally got shivers! They, I think, could not have done it better than they did – it was so clever to have them play chess and then fight, but all in their minds – the greatest minds of their time! It would have been just too unrealistic had there been an actual fist fight, but the “mind battle,” that was spot on!
May I mention here that I thought the unclothed Mycroft was totally sick? What in heaven’s name was the point of that? Can anybody explain that to me? We already knew he was a nut job (ok, ok, eccentric,) we didn’t need that – um… at all!
It had, my mom pointed out to me, a decidedly The Beekeeper’s Apprentice feel to it – but that was, perhaps, the gypsies –
that and neither Holmes nor Watson strongly resembled their namesakes.
And that brings me to my last point – Watson. Sorry, Jude Law fans, but Watson was… lousy, terrible, and to put it a little more bluntly, he was perhaps the worst I have ever seen… need I go on? Yep. First off, he got drunk – twice! What was with that? Seriously? Of the two, Watson is supposed to have the stronger moral compass, not Holmes!!! Sheesh! I didn’t enjoy how grouchy, complaining, cynical, and distrusting and, even disliking of Holmes he was, and I didn’t appreciate how much they had him swear, either! (Yes, I know that Watson swore in the books, but he didn’t use those swear words, or that often!) I was not convinced that he even liked Holmes very much at all, and I could see no reason why Holmes would even bother his head about him. (Now, I’ll admit, it may be different from my point of view because I didn’t watch the first one.) Now that’s a thing I’ve got to have in my Watson – he must like (dare I say it, “love”) his Holmes, and his Holmes must feel the same way back!! I always say that Watson must not be able to do without his Holmes, and Holmes must not be able to do without his Watson – I saw Holmes slightly needing (or rather, wanting) Watson, but I saw Watson rather resenting Holmes. And that made me mad.
Well, anyway, I think, if it hadn’t tried to be a Sherlock Holmes movie, I would have liked it very much, and if they would have (I know it sounds like sacrilege) gotten rid of Watson, I would have liked it even more. I liked the move as a whole, and I do like Robert Downy Jr. and Moriarty (and Moran for that matter) and the ending scene… but that was about it. Please, Mr. Downey Jr. stay as Iron Man, and I will continue to love you, keep desecrating (ok, so that may be too harsh of a word) my dear Sherlock Holmes, and I can’t promise anything… no wait, let me rephrase that, stay as Iron man and fire Jude Law, and then I will continue to love you. How’s that for a bargain? 😀