Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows Review

By Wednesday, January 11, 2012 7 , , , , Permalink 0
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 like Sherlock Holmes, in pretty much any incarnation. Whilst I haven’t managed to devour Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s novels, I still enjoy the recent adaptations (my all time favourite is Disney’s Basil: The Great Mouse Detective). Guy Ritchie first brought us his version of the fictional sleuth in 2009 with Sherlock Holmes which succeeded in being a great action movie: it was funny, looked good and showed a new, charismatic Holmes who has convincing chemistry with Watson. A couple of years down the line sees the release of Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, Ritchie’s sequel which promises more of the same which made the former film so enjoyable.

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows sees the return of Robert Downey Jnr and Jude Law reprising their roles of Holmes and Watson respectively. The two detectives do what they do best: fight off bad guys, outsmart villains and make witty comments whilst they do so. We are also formally introduced to Professor Moriarty (Jared Harris, aka the wonderful Lane Pryce from Mad Men): Homes’ long standing archenemy, who was briefly mentioned in the 2009 film. Moriarty and Holmes’ relationship is a key plot point to this movie, as we discover the two intellectual equals clash over good and evil.

Noomi Rapace (Lisbeth Salander in the original The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo and subsequent films) is brilliant as Madame Simza; a gypsy Holmes meets following his interception of a letter, discovering Moriaty’s involvement. Unfortunately, Madam Sim isn’t given enough screen time to equate Rapace’s capacity as an actress. Rapace did significant research into gypsy culture (living with families, learning how to dance and cook convincingly) before filming Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows to add authenticity to her character. Whilst this research clearly paid off, it’s a shame she doesn’t do as much as I’d like her to. Present in the majority of the scenes, the gypsy Simza takes the back seat over Holmes and Watson’s bromance which verges on the homoerotic.

As with Sherlock Holmes, the title sequences are beautiful. The punchy soundtrack matches the fast pace of the movie brilliantly, carrying it somewhat when it reaches a lull (not that this happens much). We also see the welcome return of Gladstone, Watson’s bulldog. With the success of Beginners and The Artist, now more than ever we see that every true hero has a canine sidekick. Even though I might be reading too much into this, I still loved the dog.

There’s no doubt that those who enjoyed the first Sherlock Holmes will also like A Game of Shadows. It is the same winning formula, with the addition of Stephen Fry as Holmes’ brother for extra light entertainment. There are many additional laugh out loud scenes, including Downey Jnr in drag, that makes the movie easy going enjoyment. In contrast, the climatic scene of Holmes and Moritary battling over a chess board is wonderful, making up for the samey, familiar feel the rest of the movie has.

  • Scott Lawlor
    January 12, 2012

    Nice to see a positive review here Amy. Thanks for sharing. I am still to see this, probably will wait for a Blu-Ray release



    • Amy
      January 14, 2012

      Thanks for the comment Scott. I think it’s fine to wait until the blu ray comes out to be honest, I don’t think it gained much from being on the big screen.

      I think I would have loved it more if had been a bit different to the first one too, they’re not really bringing anything new to the table

  • Andina
    January 13, 2012

    I agree with the title sequences, and the slo-mo actions were great, but I might not be a fan of Sherlock. I like the first one better since I felt the story is too complicated in the sequel. But, glad that you enjoyed it.

    • Amy
      January 14, 2012

      Thanks very much for the comment!

      I agree, the first one is a lot better and the plot is a bit too confusing. I did enjoy it but it just fits into the Sunday afternoon easy entertainment category really, I’m not in any rush to see it again really!

  • Rob
    January 19, 2012

    There was more action as less Sherlock magic, which isn’t a bad thing but I like trying to solve the mystery too but I thought it was tame over the first film. I don’t think Jared Harris get enough credit I thought he was brilliant along side Robert Downey Jr. more so than Jude Law. Another enjoyable film and an excellent review!

  • Amy
    January 28, 2012

    I did really enjoy this film. It wasn’t as good as the first film most probably because it no longer had the curiosity of what to expect. I love Robert Downey Jr. & Jude Law – I like their on screen relationship and they often made me laugh.
    The story line was a little more complex but easy to follow I feel there were certain scenes that dragged out a little more than expected and needed but it didn’t affect the quality of the film too much.
    I would recommend seeing this movie but perhaps on Blu-Ray. As mentioned above I love the slo mo actions – I think they are really clever and I love seeing them full speed.
    Great review Amy !

    • Amy
      January 28, 2012

      Thanks Amy, I agree it’s not as good as the first film at all. They do make a good partnership though.

      I’ll probably get it on blu ray because we’ve got the first one, and I wouldn’t mind seeing it again because I liked the baddie so much! Plus Stephen Fry was good :)

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