Warning – Spoilers, well sort of, for those who haven’t read AC Doyle, or seen previous TV series etc.
One of the films I have been looking forward to all year landed on the mat at Detox Towers this week and like an excited school boy I couldn’t wait and put it straight on. WOW, I don’t think I have ever been so disappointed in all my viewing life. I will tell you a bit about the film and then explain to you all where I think they went wrong.
Robert Downey Jnr is back in the title role, and is again joined by Dr. John Watson portrayed by Jude Law. They must go on an adventure across Europe and thwart Professor James Moriarty in his quest to start a world war so all sides use the weapons companies he has been accruing. The tale ends at the fabled Reichenbach Falls and we are left wondering if Holmes survives.
Robert Downey Jnr was no different in this sequel to how he was in the first film, and again Guy Ritchie has created awesome 19th century looking scenery this time incorporating Paris and other places not just London, but there is problems throughout the film. The chemistry between Holmes and Watson hasn’t carried over from the first film, and with Downey being the same, the blame must lie at the feet of Jude Law who just never seems to get going. With Irene Adler (Rachel McAdams) dying at the hands of Moriarty early in the film, the chemistry is lost there also. Downey just has no one to play off. In the first film the more minor actors had larger parts to play and were heavily involved in the insane banter of Downey’s Sherlock, characters like Inspector Lestrad played by the wonderful Eddie Marsan, were there to be the but of all Holmes jokes, but there is no role for him to play in this one. In the first one Mark Strong as Lord Blackwood was a convincing bad guy and this is where I believe the problem lies.
Jared Harris is a fine actor. The son of the legendary Richard Harris has impressed in both Mad Men and Fringe, and I am really looking forward to seeing his portrayal of Ulysses S. Grant in Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln. BUT he is a serious actor, he has a serious, sullen face. He is not the butt of a joke nor is he a convincing psychopath, so with him playing such a large part in Professor Moriarty, the to and fro with Downey just wasn’t there, was no where near the level of Downey and Strong.
I may be doing Harris a disservice here, but his Moriarty would not have been out of place in Jeremy Brett’s Sherlock Holmes, and this film need someone more like Andrew Scott’s Moriarty from Steven Moffat’s Sherlock. And this is where the disservice occurs, Moriarty has been re-written in our psyche by the re-booted Sherlock from the pen of Moffat and Mark Gattis, so it was already going to be a hard task to make a new Moriarty stand out.
The film however was ok, I wouldn’t pay to see it but wasn’t a complete waste of 2 hours. Instructions for Mr. Ritchie, should he be allowed to make a third instalment, less explosions and action, the story is better when its intelligence versus intelligence, and a bigger role for Mycroft Holmes as Stephen Fry portrayal was the stand out memory I shall take from this adventure.