The production design on Guy Ritchie's "Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows", from the costume department to the art direction to Hans Zimmer's now-familiar score is, I must say, first-rate stuff - eye-popping, transportive, even soothing in its period detail, the sawdust in the air, the splintering of wood, the slush of mud in the street, etc.
But beyond the film's rapturous facade, its welcoming, grimy-yet-lovely recreations, is the sneaking, inevitable feeling of weariness. Weariness in the film's aimless set-pieces, its over-plotting, its bloated runtime, its mumbling, shuffling gape from scene-to-scene, from clue-to-clue.
And in some way I almost respect and acknowledge Ritchie and his team for keeping the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle formula of slow clue accumulation followed by after-the-fact exposition and a climactic resolution, discovery and explanation of these facts, but after two films, the only resounding feeling to be gained from these middling, half-curious action-mystery hybrids is one of faint exhaustion.
I'm partly blaming the film's writers, who fail to justify their unruly length and roundabout storytelling and partly blaming Ritchie, who, although bizarrely flexing his slow-motion, camera-mount muscles during a second-half treeline escape, fails to wring tension or humor out of scenes that should otherwise bring nothing but. [C+]