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Then, there’s Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows, another enjoyable Robert Downey Jr movie with several problematic elements that would make me yell at the screen except oh look they’re pandering right at me again, and how! All mollified…

This is maybe the first action flick deliberately, consciously aimed at female slashers, aside from Point Break, which at least gestured toward plausible deniability. Here, the direction is primarily ensuring that screencappable moments are held on and carefully in focus for several frames. It would be churlish to complain.

Except, true, the plot is not very good and we just saw it in X-Men First Class with nearly as much deliberate shipper-taunting. Whereas the first film is rather cramped, entirely jammed in Victorian Zone 1, this one has more international jaunting than Necromancer. The sets seem to lack the dusty grimy love lavished on steampunk!London, but, oh look, Sherlock has a smarter crazier gayer brother played by frickin Stephen Fry! And they’re conspiring to keep Watson’s stable of male competition away on his stag night!

What was I saying? Nothing important, I guess. Oh, Irene Adler is back…briefly…then fridged, solely to establish Moriarty as an ultra-twisty badass and make Sherlock be beautifully pained and maybe her character was always that extra anachronistic smidge too far that I didn’t particularly like in the first film, but still she deserved oh crap Mary is giving Watson the exasperatedamused look of “I’m really marrying you both if I’m to get you at all, am I not? Ah well, there’s worse fates than for a lady to have two pretty yet manly husbands?”



And I really do love Mary, because her random sparks of toughness are so clearly out of her comfort zone and terrify her with how much she enjoys them. It’s not just that she looks sort of like Doctor Crusher, who, shut up, was not a crap underwritten character but one of my childhood heroes, so let’s not hear any more of that.

There’s Moriarty, who I liked when he was onscreen, but wasn’t it a slightly disappointing revelation of who he was? Like, in between films they figured out who was their big bad so we don’t get any dramatic revelation of “By Joves, it’s that famous brilliant hugely respected professor who I’ve been fanboying for years, for his brain of course and not his rough-hewn good looks?!” Which, seriously, does he not look like a ginger clone of his father? Specifically in This Sporting Life, which is both wonderfully homoerotic and includes the role that earned William Hartnell the gig as the first Doctor Who?

Then there’s Madam Simza…ok, I hated Girl With A Dragon Tattoo (that’s a whole nother post there), so did not have any particular attachment to this actress…and the character is sort of a Maguffin, the living plot point to get the important characters from place to place. Nonetheless…I liked that the deliberately homoerotic slant kept her from being the romantic lead. That meant she could become part of the team, but have her own arc that didn’t get derailed by loooooove or transfer to the man to take care of for her because he loooooooves her. She got into this mess because she was looking for her brother, kept with them because they were her best chance to find him, and ended with her heartbroken because she failed to save him. That worked for me.

Really…the point of this film is to have Sherlock in drag, wrestling with Watson as Watson rips his clothes off. And later, they dance together, and a couple of times Jude Law makes beautiful with the heartbroken that Sherlock is dead, and then Sherlock is not dead, and the slashers rejoice. It’s problematic as hell in getting there, and Stephen Fry gets naked for comedy, which makes me feel a little bad as he’s repeatedly talked about how his lifelong body image struggle gives him massive anxiety depression…

…but my interests being so comprehensively pandered to makes me ok with all that.

So, to sum up…yes, I am that shallow.

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