Anyone who remembers my fears of the first Robert Downey Jr. Sherlock movie, I was very, very concerned that it would be too much action, not enough actual detecting and cleverness. Those fears were set aside pretty fast, and the movie was very clever, and very smart, with some genuine mystery and actual detective work, or as close as Hollywood can be bothered with.
And then there's Sherlock 2.
If the first one put my fears to rest, Sherlock 2 was my fears made manifest, in that regard. This was way more action, and way less cleverness and detective work. There was still some to be had, but it was waaay lower on balance than to explosions and punching.
Which is fine! But not really Sherlock, is it? The first movie struck JUST the right balance between the two with serving up a compelling mystery with twists, and turns, and clues and all that goodness, but also catering to the modern desire for the booms. It was great, in that regard. It gave you that mystery story in a very modern way, and it worked.
Less so, here, IMO.
I also felt that Sherlock's ability to predict things, while somewhat buyable in the first movie, you could see how he got from point A to point Q pretty well, and it all made sense from knowledge and available cues...this movie had it feeling a lot more like magic and psychic prediction, and less skill. It turned me off.
But let me talk about some good things! There were plenty!
The action WAS good, and fun, and while sometimes Sherlock's abilities were a bit much, they were done well from time to time. More on that in a bit.
Steven Fry was a blast. I could watch him doing anything, and he was a good foil for Sherlock here. I do wish he had more to do in this movie. But with more clothes!
Downey and Law were good again, although they didn't seem to have quite the same chemistry as before. Was it just me? Something just didn't click. It felt more forced, less fun.
Jared Harris was pretty damned good as Moriarty, too. And that brings me back to the predictive abilities. The fight between Sherlock and Moriarty atop Reichenbach Falls? AMAZING! HOLY crap that was GOOD. Some of the stuff wasn't so great leading up to it, but the instant they revealed Moriarty has the same predictive skill as Holmes? YES, so much yes. And I am SO pleased they went through with both of them going over the falls. I almost wanted to cheer. I honestly wish they had not done the end reveal that Sherlock was still alive.
What I did not care for, AT ALL, was Noomi Rapace's character.
And yes, some of that IS sour grapes over my future girlfr...er, Rachel McAdams being killed off very quickly, and at least initially, off camera. That soured me right off the bat towards Noomi, and she never won me over.
But even so.
You know those old shows, when an actor would leave, but the writers still had plotlines and ongoing stuff to deal with? So they brought in a new character that you could TELL was exactly the same, but just different enough to NOT be exactly the same, yet you knew it was the same person with the serial numbers filed off?
Yeah, that is what Noomi's character felt like to me. She was a find and replace for "Irene Adler". They peppered in a few differences to cover over the cracks, but it really could have been Rachel with very little changing, save a few details.
She was ok, but never quite pulled me back from that land of annoyance when I could see what they did, but she was fine, and people less enamoured of Rachel might be less annoyed. And probably people who hate McAdams are relieved. ;D
For the most part, I liked it. My complaints are there, and they DO bug me, but the good stuff WAS good, for the same reasons the first one was good. But it was not AS good, and not even that close. If Sherlock Holmes the first was a four out of five, this would be a three, MAYBE a three point five. Still good! But flawed, and not quite was clever, not quite as mysterious, and way more what I feared that first movie would have been.
But I still recommend it if you liked the first, just be prepared to not be as in love with this one.