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December 16, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Although Arthur Conan Doyle would probably not recognize the characters he created if he returned from the grave today, the new Sherlock Holmes, played by Robert Downey Jr., and Dr. Watson, played by Jude Law, are likely to keep the coffers of the Doyle estate filled to the brim for some time to come with revenue from the Holmes film franchise. To be sure, in Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows, Holmes continues to use his complex intellect to solve crimes but, as in the first film starring the two actors, Holmes also uses it to choreograph his battles with bad guys instantaneously. The reviews are mostly negative. “Thinking,” comments Mark Jenkins in the Washington Post, “is not the movie’s priority.” Kyle Smith in the New York Post calls the movie “moron-friendly.” Few viewers are likely to know what a true Conan Doyle novel even looks like, thus allowing the filmmakers, he says, “to grab the name of one of popular literature’s most enduring heroes and paste a completely different character on him.” Joe Neumaier in the New York Daily News detects that Downey already appears somewhat bored with this character, “even if he plays it as Holmes’s boredom.” He reserves special praise for the performance of Stephen Fry, playing Sherlock’s brother Mycroft. “He’s the only free spirit in a movie that feels deadlocked and soulless,” he remarks. And Claudia Puig in USA Today concludes that the movie “is simultaneously brash and dull — hardly a combustible combination.” On the other hand, the movie has also received a fair share of praise. Betsy Sharkey in the Los Angeles Times likes the “crackling dialogue” between the two stars. “Law’s down-to-earth and slightly fussy Watson proves once again to be the right counterweight to Downey’s flighty, fidgety, flinty Holmes,” she writes. “The thing to do,” advises Roger Ebert in the Chicago Sun-Times,”is to set aside your memories of the Conan Doyle stories, save them to savor on a night this winter and enjoy this movie as a high-caliber entertainment.”