I still thought that Sherlock Holmes is a story that was better enjoyed in reading. The nature of the Greatest Detective’s deductions and methods of solving intricate crime plot is something that for my own personal taste, was better when I could read and analyze each an every word with a careful understanding. That being said, this movie works better than its predecessor. The plot is dense, but one that wouldn’t throw its careful audience adrift, the characters were more adept of their respective roles this time around, and Guy Ritchie’s distinctive style is actually something that I welcomed because unlike its predecessor, it seems to me that this movie is less showy and therefore, had more substance over style.
Borrowing some elements from the infamous “The Final Problem” where Sherlock Holmes fought his decidedly equal nemesis, Professor James Moriarty over the Reichenbach falls, this movie provides more background to the nature of two gentlemen’s rivalry. It opens with Sherlock Holmes trying to uncover Moriarty’s plot that involves several bombings across Europe, assassination of a well known doctor, and a certain courier, one that Sherlock Holmes would call an “ideal woman,” Irene Adler. It then proceeds with Holmes and his usual partner, Dr.Watson, plus more than just a handful of helping hands from his brother, Mycroft and the “new girl,” a gypsy Madam Simza traveling across Europe to hinder Moriarty’s plot that threatens to put Europe under chaos.
The movie spent a considerable amount of its opening time to detail the plot. It may be a bit too much for some audiences, but it is at least throws some humor, obviously revolves around Holmes’ socially awkward antics to keep one from straying into boredom. I really liked Jude Law’s role as Dr.Watson. He provides a great balance to RDJ’s tendency to stole the spotlight. I also really really loved the world’s backdrop of 19th century Europe though I can’t really vouch for its accuracies. But still, I figured that less attentive audiences would found themselves hard pressed and even struggling to move forward from its more narrative part.
But when the movie starts exploding, oh boy, how it explodes. I’m usually not big on a gratuitous slow motion sequences, but the movie’s forest scene was awesome. In fact, it was one of the highest point of the movie for me that even though I have been anticipated this particular scene (from its trailer), I was floored none the less with its delicious delicious execution.
On a more subtle note, Jared Harris who portrayed Sherlock Holmes’ nemesis, James Moriarty did an astounding job in bringing the character’s most revered (though for all the wrong reasons) villain alive. Their first meeting is gripping and somehow, it scares the shit out of me that even though I know how the movie will plays out, I’m still worried about Holmes. Their final exchange, when Holmes as per his usual played out the fighting scene in his mind but countered by Moriarty’s own fighting scene in his own mind, gives a sense that they are, indeed of an equal adversity. It is also one of the best way to provide a closure that more or less, of equal breath as the closure of the book’s “The Final Problem.” The movie had its problems and obviously not perfect, but it doesn’t allow me, at least, to stop long enough and pondering about it.
Also with Noomi Rapace whom, as was the norm of many women’s role in the movies nowadays, heavily underused, the movie packs a lot of punches in its acting department. For instance, Stephen Fry’s hilarious take on Holmes’ other half could be easily turned into another movie that I would love to watch. I figured that fans of the original book would love to see the exchanges between the brothers when they first met.