THE 2009 film of Sherlock Holmes brought Arthur Conan Doyle's legendary sleuth to a whole new generation of fans, and cemented the comeback of Robert Downey Jnr as a smooth-talking, all-brawling Holmes.
It was more than enough of a financial success to beget this sequel, one that more or less replicates the first movie in terms of spotty and sporadic enjoyment to accompany its storytelling inadequacies.
Downey returns as Holmes, as does Jude Law as his associate Dr Watson, and their banter and interplay remains the heart of the piece, with Holmes less than happy about Watson's impending marriage, although this does develop into a rather distracting subplot.
But the big news here is the appearance of Professor James Moriarty, arch-enemy to Holmes, who was merely seen in shadows in the first film. Played with a cool detachment by Jared Harris, it is the scheme of the so-called Napoleon Of Crime that drives a convoluted plot.
Set in 1891, there is anarchy across Europe, and a series of bombings that Holmes, consulting detective, martial arts expert and amateur alchemist, is trying to get to the bottom of.
Rachel McAdams pops up ever so briefly, reprising her role as the treacherous Irene Adler, working for Moriarty not entirely of her own choice.
But she is soon replaced by the original Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, Swede Noomi Rapace, who is given a rather thankless role as a fortune teller roped into the whole business, thanks to the involvement of her brother with Moriarty's plans.
It is here the film takes a bit of time to settle into its main story, rounding up all the supporting players including Stephen Fry, playing Holmes' brother Mycroft.
Holmes soon has his first brief meeting with Moriarty, one which provides a promise of great machinations to come, so it is a shame they have only a couple more opportunities to play their intellectual chess game that ultimately becomes a literal one.
Holmes thrives on having a nemesis in Moriarty worthy of him and their scenes together are when they are both at their most interesting. Moriarty is seemingly always a step ahead, with an early reference to Reichenbach Falls tipping off Holmes fans as to where it all might be heading.
Yet their mutual antagonism fails to sizzle quite as much as may have been hoped, with Moriarty never quite as dangerous and menacing as he ought to be, and the actual details of his plan to start a major Europe-wide war little more than window dressing.
The rest is robust fights that too often descend into shootouts, but with so much fisticuffs and gunplay it leaves little time for any real sleuthing, surely the driving force behind why Holmes exists at all.
Still, the meticulous pre-planning of everything that will transpire when he is about to pull off one of his ingenious plans is something to marvel at.
Also worth marvelling at is a level of production value that amazingly makes this look even better than the already gorgeous first movie did, albeit a shade darker and grimier.
Director Guy Ritchie again plays out the fights in super slow motion, a highly stylised approach that renders the movie exciting because it is boisterous and noisy, not because it is especially imaginative or clever.
But the movie left a nagging sense that it could be better.
Running Time: 128 mins
Director: Guy Ritchie
ALVIN AND THE CHIPMUNKS: CHIPWRECKED (U) Strictly one for the world's young Alvin fans
ALVIN and his brothers Theodore and Simon are computer-generated rock star chipmunks whose two movie outings thus far have set box office tills worldwide ringing to the tune of $800m, all the while offering barely a moment's entertainment.
This inevitable second sequel sees them, along with their 'dad' Dave (Jason Lee) and girl group the Chipettes on a cruise ship, where what Dave has planned as a relaxing vacation turns into a nightmare thanks to Alvin being more mischievous than ever.
A hang-gliding stunt ends up with them lost at sea, where sadly they don't drown but end up on a desert island where equally sadly they're not eaten by foxes.
Once again, an actual plot is not on the minds of the filmmakers, though the island setting does keep it focussed and there is real threat and stakes. Still, there are many inexplicable elements, with once again the Chipettes voiced by Anna Faris and Christina Applegate when they could be anyone, and really it's mostly just a tired parade of dance routines and cover songs.
There's no faulting the CGI used to realise the rodents, and there are a couple of nice castaway gags, but largely it's pratfalls and pop culture references.
To say it's an improvement on the brain-piercing atrocity that was the second Alvin movie, The Squeakquel, is damning with very faint praise indeed.
Director: Mike Mitchell
Running time: 87 mins