Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows
Guy Richie is back with his unique adaptation of Sherlock Holmes in a sequel entitled A Game of Shadows. It is called such because Holmes is now face to face with his traditional nemesis Professor Moriarty. What results is an enjoyable romp much like the first installment though not quite on the same level.
The things which work in this film are the same things which worked in the other film. The primary reason to watch A Game of Shadows is the pairing of Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law, which is on par with their previous outing as Holmes and Watson. A great relationship has formed between the two, and here it is taken to a few more emotional levels as well as comical ones.
We are also introduced to a great villain in Moriarty. He has an underplayed menace which works really well for a diabolical mastermind. Some of the best scenes in the movie are the scenes with Holmes and Moriarty together, including the chess-filled finale.
The action scenes here aren’t quite as distracting as they were in the first film, and they are constructed quite well. But what really impresses me is simply the visual style of this turn of the century London, and the scope this time extends to Paris and Germany as well. The scenery looks both exaggerated and authentic at the same time. There’s a sort of down-to-earth steampunk design to this world which is really neat.
However, Game of Shadows does fall short of its predecessor in a few ways. Firstly, there’s not really much of a mystery to be solved here, unlike the first film. Its really just Holmes trying to figure out some vague world domination plot which doesn’t really provide a solid narrative to pin the rest of the movie on. They try to piece together a mystery near the end in Switzerland, but its too little too late by that point.
The addition of the gypsy character Sim is also pretty weak as the female lead. Shes entirely uninteresting and brings the energy down in most scenes she’s in. I much prefer Rachel McAdams’ spunky Irene Adler.
Despite these downfalls, Holmes 2 does manage to provide a very satisfying conclusion. The needing really is great and may make you walk away thinking this film is better than it is. Its hard not to like a film with so much atmosphere and wit, even with its downfalls.