Proper Herald review of Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows available here.

I liked the original Sherlock Holmes quite a bit. I mean, the Guy Ritchie original. Not to say I don’t like the original original Sherlock Holmes. But we’re talking about movies here. Try to keep up. The original Sherlock Holmes, then, was a welcome surprise: witty, offbeat, frenetic, very modern in its steampunk trappings and Ritchie actioneering, yet still faithful to the source. It was good in a way you don’t expect these tentpole franchises to be.

In other words, kind of like the first Pirates of the Caribbean.

Not that anyone was comparing it to Pirates back then. Or if they were, I didn’t hear it, and am going to continue to pretend as if such statements don’t exist. Because if they did, that would make my comparison–that A Game of Shadows is an awful lot like Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest–sound much less original.

But the comparison’s pretty great. Big, wanna-be blockbuster that everyone rolled their eyes at becomes surprise success. Everyone’s looking forward to the sequel. Second movie comes out and it’s.. not so great. It’s too much. It tries to deliver everything that made the original so charming and fun, only amped up to 11. It’s overstuffed, confused, sprawling. It’s not horrible, but in its excess and tone-deafness, it’s exactly the kind of Hollywood-bad everyone expected the first movie to be.

That description fits both A Game of Shadows and Dead Man’s Chest to a T. I don’t want it to. I liked both originals. I even kind of enjoyed both sequels (though A Game of Shadow‘s very-forced repartee between Robert Downey, Jr. and Jude Law almost pushed me into dislike territory). They’re just nothing I ever really need to see again.

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