His name is Holmes, Sherlock Holmes, and he is back for the holidays to partake in another case. This adventure however does not center on the magical tricks of Lord Blackwell, but instead on uncovering the plot of Professor James Moriarty’s schemes. As many fans of the series know, the professor is the main rival of Holmes and has given the detective quite a challenge over the series. So when I saw that this sequel was being made this past summer, I admit that I was worried about what Guy Ritchie’s vision for bringing the intense rivalry alive and whether he could captivate the fan base like the books. Did the movie accomplish its goal? Read on to find out.
I’ll start by giving my praises to Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law as this dynamic duo once again play their roles quite well. Downey’s ability to play the eccentric, uncontrollable, and resourceful Holmes is quite impressive finding just the right amount of emotion to deliver his well-written lines. Law as well does a great job portraying Watson once more, using his British charm to be serious and proper as Watson usually is. However, Law still found a way to add some comedy to lighten up some of the serious situations without trying too hard. Joining the dynamic duo on their adventures is Stephen Fry and Noomi Rapace who play Mycroft Holmes and Madame Simza respectively. Fry’s ability to act as a pompous and stuffy politician seems almost natural, and manages to add another level of depth to this movie. Rapace, who is a replacement for McAdams, does nice work too, though her character was not nearly as involved as I would have liked to see. Perhaps the biggest applause should go to Jared Harris who played the part of Moriarty amazingly. I was impressed to see Harris had managed to play the devious professor without going overboard and playing into the stereotypical mad doctor role, which essentially brought the character to life for me.
Aside from the acting what else did this movie have to offer? Well for one thing the comedy is still just as fun. The combination of the dialog, the costumes, and situations had me laughing at various parts of the movie. When I wasn’t laughing however, my attention was focused on trying to figure out Holmes’ next moves. Fans of the series I believe will be impressed with the direction they took to the detective’s strategy on solving the problem. Moriarty’s counter moves were also nicely executed, the counter strategies keeping you wondering who will win the battle of the wits. Now some may be worried that this battle of wits could be boring, I’m happy to say that this is not the case in this sequel as there is plenty of action to help keep the pace exciting. A majority of the action is mainly gunplay, but the occasional close combat scenes are well coordinated. Those looking for those looks into Holmes’ mind will be happy to hear that they re back in full force and much better done. Unlike the first movie, a majority of these scenes are timed very well taking place before the action instead of during it, which made it more believable for me.
Unfortunately these scenes, as well as many of the action scenes are not filmed to the best extent. Glitchy camera work took away some of the detail from the movie and made them hard to follow. When it came to the gunplay, the camera decided to focus more on Holmes and Watson than the battle over all, which opened up for some comedic dialog, but took away from some of the excitement. A few other details were lost in the cinematography as well, robbing the audience of some vital information. Fans of Rachel McAdams will also be disappointed to find out she plays a very small in this film, only appearing in the first ten minutes or so. Finally the cliffhanger at the end of the movie is cleverly done, but annoying, as I always like a definite finish. The way this film ends leaves Ritchie open to making a sequel, or finishing the film series as it stands; the uncertainty it presents is very annoying.
Sherlock Holmes A Game Of Shadows is a movie that has definite replay potential and is an entertaining treat for the holidays. With it’s great cast, exciting twists, and balance of comedy, story, and action, it may in fact be one of the better movies this holiday season. However, the cinematography needs some tweaking for the next installment so I can better follow the film. My final analysis for this film is as follows:
Action/Adventure Movie: 8.0
Movie overall: 8.0
As a result I say this film is definitely worth a trip to the theater and you will enjoy the latest addition to the Holmes’ library. So until next time my friends, this is Robbie K signing off until his next movie. Enjoy!