Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows

December 18, 2011 By Mike B
Movie Review

What Worked?

In the first go-around, Robert Downey Jr. turned Sherlock Holmes into a cool, clever and quirky action hero that was different from the text, but highly likable, while still maintaining the original character’s wit and charm.  Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows pits the greatest detective against a foe that is his equal, putting him and Dr. Watson in a whole new adventure. Guy Ritchie is behind the camera once again, and the dangerous duo playing Holmes and Watson are back in a sequel that equals its predecessor.

Director Ritchie applies his now noticeable style of quick cuts, staggered slow-motion, and flashback scenes to break down twists in the plot. The film is fast-paced, matching Holmes’ remarks, as well as his intellect, and every scene is packed with style over substance.

Robert Downey Jr. playing Sherlock Holmes has not lost any of his charm as the witty detective, and he truly is a wonder to watch. In the sequel, Holmes is still the intelligent, humorously clever detective, but this time around there are events that project the loneliness of his character. Granted, this is an action film above everything else, but the times where it does slow down, Downey Jr. conveys that hidden loneliness with silence, and longing glares. There is a scene where he is savoring a particular handkerchief for the last time that is a fantastic example of Downey Jr’s subtlety that becomes overlooked because of his entertaining bravado.

Holmes’ other half, Dr. Watson, played by Jude Law, is well-acted once again and the two actors have such amazing chemistry that it keeps the film afloat. Without the two in the lead roles, the sequel would probably sink without question. Dr. Watson in this film gets married, making his exchanges with Holmes that more interesting. Their bromance drives the film once again, making for an exciting time at the theaters.

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows isn’t a knockout sequel, but the returning players make it work, when on paper it might not have looked too good. The combination of Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law hasn’t gotten old, even though everything else might have.

Potential Drawbacks:

The novelty of seeing an ass-kicking, martial arts master that is Sherlock Holmes, in this almost parallel Holmes universe, is gone. Where sequels are supposed to take the characters further, and put them in deeper, darker situations, this film feels like it’s playing it safe.

Just like the first film, you don’t really care too much for the story, but you wait for the funny bits and banter between Holmes and Watson. There are a lot of flashbacks to explain what happens in the present, but many really wont care for it too much. The run-time also feels a bit long, even though the film is fast-paced because there might not be enough of an interesting story to hold people’s attention for over two hours.

There are also underused characters for this film, especially Noomi Rapace. Rapace is a wonderful actress, as many have seen in the Girl With the Dragoon Tattoo films, but she barely does anything in this film. She’s absolutely beautiful in her scenes, but it feels like she’s just hanging around as eye-candy.

 Film Recommendations:

Sherlock Holmes
Kiss Kiss Bang Bang
Girl With the Dragon Tattoo

Constructive debates are welcome, but personal attacks are not. If you feel a comment is offensive or considered spam, please feel free to flag it.

Latest Reviews

  • Lock starring Tom Hardy
  • Locke

    One of the best places to have time to yourself and really think about your life is in your car;...

    Read Review >>
  • Expendables 3 Once again, Sylvester Stallone and company are back to spill blood and yell out manly things. Expendables 3 continues the old school action of the...
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Back in the 90s, the turtles in a half shell hit the big screen with three live action movies that were ridiculously fun to watch for kids. Michael...
  • Guardians of the Galaxy We've ventured off into space before, but we've never done it with such a likable bunch as Star Lord, Groot, Gamora, Drax, and Rocket. James Gunn's...
  • See more reviews »