Sherlock Holmes has a lot to live up to. Following last year’s hit, the eponymous hero has to also contend with being reincarnated by Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat, which has been showered with critical acclaim and a cult following.
However, what’s wrong with a sequel filled with bromance and one of the biggest literary cliffhangers of all time?
Sherlock Holmes: A Games of Shadows follows Robert Downey Jr’s slick Holmes as he is locked in a battle of wits against Jared Haris’s Moriarty, who is so dastardly that he is missing a moustache to twiddle between his fingers, while trying to stop a war between France and Germany.
The real improvement in this second adventure is the vision of director Guy Ritchie. Rather than keeping it in London, we’re now transcending across Europe with train shootouts, huge guns and a very impressive foot chase scene (with effective use to slow-motion) in a forest.
Now, the other improvement from the first outing is the chemistry between Holmes and his (and appropriately stuffy) sidekick Watson, played by the immaculate Jude Law. They were good in the first one – in A Game of Shadows, they are even better. Seeing the two bounce off each other on screen shows that they had a ball making the film, and makes them one of the more ‘compatible’ couples to grace the cinema in 2011.
The weaker points come from the supporting cast. Downey Jr. does mumble through a bit but Irene Adler is significantly underused – perhaps not to overfill the wits capacity in the film – and Stephen Fry as Mycroft Holmes comes across as someone you can’t take seriously; so perhaps someone quite fitting to be the British Government personified? :p
The pace of the story falters slightly in between the first and second hour so you start thinking one minute, before whooping for Jude Law and his huge cannon (giggity).
Noomi Rapace’s Sim did raise some eyebrows, as a multi-cultural gypsy in London who found herself embroiled in an assassination attempt is not the most plausible of additions…but you can’t really be picky when you’re having so much fun watching this film.
Rather being labelled as an adaptation for The Final Problem, A Game of Shadows has been maintained as an independent film so die-hard fans of Arthur Conan Doyle’s hero shouldn’t nit-pick with comparisons and how closely this follows the novel. So bypass the small inaccuracies and just get lost in this action and bromance-filled caper.