The Christmas season coming up contains more than a few risks in terms of the big commercial movies. Films like "The Muppets" and "The Adventures of Tintin" are placing large, expensive bets on properties that are no longer as famous as they once were, Sony are hoping that audiences will want to spend the holidays with an R-rated tale of rape and murder with "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo," and Martin Scorsese has a hugely expensive family movie that, if early reviews are to be believed, appeals mainly to cinephiles.
But one of the safer candidates appears to be Warner Bros' "Sherlock Holmes: A Game Of Shadows." The 2009 original proved to be more entertaining than most had expected, and took over half a billion dollars worldwide. And the formula doesn't appear to have been messed with for the sequel, as the latest trailer, which just debuted over at MSN, confirms. Robert Downey Jr and Jude Law return as Holmes and Watson, with another tricky case, full of gothic interiors, fistfights and vaguely homo-erotic banter.
As is the way with sequels, especially to big hits, the ante has been firmly upped. The new clip showcases more huge set-pieces, bigger sets and a wider scope, with our detective pair tracking across Europe with mysterious gypsy Sim (Noomi Rapace) in search of the evil Professor Moriarty (Jared Harris, aka Lane Price from "Mad Men," who's more prominent here than in earlier clips). What this glimpse also confirms, as was previously rumored, is that Rachel McAdams is back as Holmes' love interest Irene Adler, although her lack of billing suggests it's little more than a cameo.
We've got some issues here -- some of the banter falls a bit flat, and director Guy Ritchie seems to be leaning on the speed-ramping crutch even more than in the last picture -- but the previous film proved more entertaining than its trailers, and not messing with what wasn't that broken isn't necessarily the worst thing in the world, in this case. We'll find out how it matches up when "Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows" opens on December 16th.