Dec 24, 2011


If you are looking for something sophisticated or intellectual to watch this holiday season at the movie theaters then Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows may not be your cup of tea. However, if you are looking for something that’s more style than substance instead, then Guy Ritchie’s newest film may be exactly what you are looking for, and that’s not a bad thing.

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows transcends the first film in almost every way, with faster pacing, wittier dialogue and twice as much action.The film continues the story of Sherlock Holmes, played by Robert Downey Jr., and his comrade and dear friend Watson, played by Jude Law who this time are deep into a case that involves European anarchists bent on starting a war between France and Germany.The man in charge of this conspiracy is the nefarious Professor James Moriarty, played by Jared Harris, whose keen intellect rivals that of even Holmes himself. Now Holmes and Watson are in a race against time to stop the evil Professor and to keep Europe from being plunged into war.

Let me first say that the first film of the Sherlock Holmes series was a big disappointment to me.While not exactly being a bad movie per se, the first film lacked the style, the wit and the fun of some of my favorite Guy Ritchie films such as Snatch and Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels. Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, however, hits the mark on these things on more than one occasion.

As before in the first film, the unique and witty chemistry between Downey Jr.’s Holmes and Law’s Watson is near perfect and is by far the most enjoyable part of the movie.The snappy dialogue between the two characters is almost reminiscent of a bickering gay couple and the bromance between the two characters couldn’t be more hilarious. English actor, Stephen Fry, makes a comical cameo as well as Sherlock’s strange, eccentric older brother and Noomi Rapace, the original Girl with a Dragon Tattoo, does well in her role as the fortune teller, Madam Simza Heron.

The action is also more refined and well-paced compared to the first, with better speed up, slow down action scenes and dramatic slow motion sequences. One of the things I liked from the first film that was in this is the return of composer Hans Zimmer scoring the music for the sequel. Zimmer’s fast-paced, fun and action-packed theme helps keep the story and the plot entertaining and continues to show why Zimmer is one of the best in the business when it comes to film music.

However, the movie was not without its shortcomings. A lot of scenes in the movie bordered on the ridiculous, more than once, including a preposterous sequence where German soldiers mortared the hell out of a forest to kill Holmes and his companions.Other absurd sequences included firing off other giant mortars to save companions and multiple train explosions that somehow never injure the heroes.

The plot is also far from perfect and at times is hard to follow. The mystery part of the film, which is of course essential to a Sherlock Holmes story, is often drowned out by Guy Ritchie’s incessant need to keep banging are heads over and over again with explosions and slow-mo action scenes.

In fact, for the most part, this is not a mystery film or a thriller, it’s an action movie and it doesn’t get much more sophisticated than that. With that said though, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows is a pretty damn good popcorn film and will more than likely keep you entertained throughout.

So if you are looking for something fun to watch during the holidays then it’s quite elementary my dear movie-goers: Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows is the way to go.