I liked it more than you might think from reading the NYT review, but it is definitely not as good as the first one. To be more precise, the writing does not live up to the sets, costumes and special effects. It has the feel of a movie that was written by one committee and then re-written by another committee. This one won't kill the franchise, but the next one needs to be better.
There is also some truth to this jab by A.O. Scott:
The real point of the movie is the bantering byplay between Holmes and Watson (Jude Law) punctuated by punches, explosions and action sequences as bloated and pretentious as a 10-minute drum solo on a live album by a second-rate art-rock band from the ’70s.Mildly recommended for mindless entertainment.