Smoke and Mirrors
When the Crown Prince of Austria is found dead, Inspector Lestrade (Eddie Marsan) pronounces suicide as the cause of death. But Sherlock Holmes (Robert Downey Jr.) deduces that the prince did not kill himself but has been murdered - and he is soon untangling an international web of intrigue with the help of Doctor Watson (Jude Law), a gypsy named Simza (Noomi Rapace) and Holmes' older brother Mycroft Holmes (Stephen Fry). It is a web of intrigue where everything points to one criminal mastermind and Holmes' nemesis, Professor Moriarty (Jared Harris).
I have now watched "Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows" twice as I needed to confirm my thoughts after I finished it the first time and the second time did confirm them. To me "Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows" is a lot of smoke and mirrors or to put it an old fashioned way, style over substance. It is the reason why I had to watch the movie twice as the first time I watched I couldn't believe how little story there was going on and if you had taken out all the over production I doubt there was enough story to sustain an hour long movie with some of the story showing up as not actually important, just filler.
But it seems to me that the whole point of "Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows" was to show off. As such we have scene after scene where the slow motion camera work is the star which whilst undeniably good ends up filler. Then there is the characterisation of Holmes with it almost feeling like Robert Downey Jr. and director Guy Ritchie decided to make him almost Chaplin-esque is the way he moved. And these two combined dominate the movie to make it almost feel ego driven, as if somehow it was decided between the bankable Downey and the styling that was enough to please audiences, sadly it didn't please this audience member.
What this all boils down to is that "Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows" is certainly a dazzling movie with lots of styling and Robert Downey Jr. delivering the sort of performance audiences like him for. But for me when you look past Downey and the style there was not a lot of substance to "Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows".