Film Review: Sherlock Holmes – A Game of Shadows

(Published on BritScene and in Issue 5 of my publication In Retrospect)

Directed by Guy Ritchie, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows is the sequel to the 2009 film based on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s fictional detective character.

Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law reprise their roles as Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson as they begin investigating a series of seemingly unrelated terrorist attacks. Shortly after Watson’s wedding with Mary (Kelly Reilly), Sherlock realises that the bombings around Europe are part of a plan to foment war between France and Germany. With the help of Sherlock’s brother Mycroft (Stephen Fry) as well, the duo team up with gypsy woman Madame Simza (Noomi Rapace) to bring down the evil Professor Moriarty (Jared Harris), who, to make matters even more tense, has poisoned Sherlock’s ex-wife Irene Adler (Rachel McAdams).

Full of brilliant action and great performances, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows is very much like its predecessor. With more disguises for Sherlock to pull off, and even more semi-homoerotic moments between him and Dr. Watson that we ever so love, this latest instalment to franchise is both great as a follow-up from its predecessor and also as a stand-alone film, with only a few things left to figure out for yourself if you had no knowledge of the previous relationships between the characters.

One of the best things about the film, I feel, is both the art director and costume design. Ritchie’s take on the adaptation and the appearance of the Victorian society where Sherlock lived is brilliant and really compliment the books well. Not only do the characters look great, but the film setting is also one of the things I like about the Sherlock films, with a great detail to everything around them.

One part that wasn’t worked on well, however, was the character of Irene, who we are left to presume that she will not be returning if there were to be any more sequels. I picked up that she was being used as a form of compensation for Sherlock to play along with Moriarty’s plans but, apparently, it was an action rendering her character unneeded. I only wish they played on her romance with Sherlock before getting rid of her character.

As with the first film, both Robert Downey Jr and Jude Law make a brilliant detective duo, and it is this relationship that the film is about, although it was no so much of a focus in this film as it was in the first. The two work so well together, and it is through them that franchise has been so well received.

Stephen Fry, as well, was a great addition cast, suiting Sherlock’s brother extremely well and provoking a few scenes of laughter throughout. And as for Noomi Rapace, it was very interesting to see her in a film since starring as the lead in the Swedish version of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo trilogy, of which we have been treated to an English adaptation to this month as well. I was reading that she’s set for a few more English-language roles over the next year as well, and we will also get to see Fry in Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit.

Sherlock Holmes: A Game Of Shadows is ultimately an easy-going film that is enjoyable to watch, and if you liked the first film then I would get to the cinema to see it.

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