Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows does not disappoint. It had the same type of convoluted plot as the first movie, the same use of slow motion and effects as the first, and the distant world-view of Robert Downey, Jr.’s Sherlock Holmes. It did drag a bit in the middle, but otherwise it was a solid film worthy of your money. However, if you have not seen the first Sherlock Holmes movie, then you should see it first before watching A Game of Shadows. The plots of the two films weave together a bit.
Plot: At the end of the first Sherlock Holmes movie, we established that Sherlock Holmes has a new nemesis, one professor Moriarty. The plot in this film is centered around finding out what Moriarty is up to. Holmes and Moriarty are playing a bit of a dangerous chess game. Unfortunately, the pawns end up being Watson and his new bride Mary. After Moriarty tries to dissuade Holmes from messing in his business by trying to kill Watson and his bride on the way to their honeymoon, Watson agrees to help Holmes on this last case. They send Mary to stay with Holmes’ brother, Mycroft, while they try to find the brother of a gypsy who may be the key to Moriarty’s plot. All the while, Europe is at the brink of war, and this may be part of Moriarty’s plan as well. Can Holmes keep his friends alive and figure out Moriarty’s plan before its too late? You will have to watch the movie to find out.
I love the cinematography in this film. I love the old time feel that the movie has. I love the look of the film, it reminds me of an old black and white film. It was a very artsy and beautiful way to do the film. They did a lot of good choreography in this film just like in the original. Although, there was scene that was over done a bit, and they did use an awful lot of the Matrix slow motion which could be seen as a bit of overkill. They did use some great film angles and put together some great scenes. There were some really beautiful shots in this film. The action was well choreographed. The movie had some great explosions, and excellent fight scenes. They used the scenes again where Holmes would outline his thought process one step at a time in slow motion and then they would show you the result in real time. I still really like that concept, and even though it does sound weird on paper, in the movie it works really well. This installment of the series feels as well put together as the original. It is a good companion piece to the original film.
The acting was again excellent. Robert Downey Jr. is still a perfect Sherlock Holmes. He is eccentric, smart, observant, but yet he cares very much for his friends. He is everything I imagined Sherlock Holmes would be. It was a great part for Downey and he did it very well. Jude Law is again perfect as the straight man, Doctor Watson. His timing is perfect and the chemistry between the actors is great, and they seem to work well together. They make a great cinematic team and it shows up on screen and makes this film work. Kelly Reilly has a larger role this time as Mary, Watson’s fiancée’. She does a good job. I didn’t like her as well in the first film but she is beginning to grow on me. Stephen Fry is perfect as Holmes brother, Mycroft, who is just as eccentric as Holmes. Mycroft has a “Mysterious Government Job” and he does play a pivotal in the film. He has this fantastic scene in his home with Mary that is just hilarious. Jared Harris is good as the evil but smart and well-connected Professor Moriarty. He manages to get what he wants done without sullying his hands. He is the perfect villain to play opposite against Holmes because they are almost a match in intellect. Noomi Rapace plays the gypsy whose brother is at the center of the mystery. She is very pretty, capable, and helpful to Holmes and Watson. Her character adds flavor and much needed flair to the movie with the gypsy aspect. She did a great job and I hope to see her in future films (she was also in the Swedish version of the “Girl with the Dragon Tattoo). I thought the characters and the acting were excellent in this film.
Overall, I thought this was a good film. I thought like the first film, it dragged a bit in certain places, and for some the plot might be too intricate and convoluted. However, I thought the plot was solid, the cinematography was excellent and the acting was very good. It’s a great film. You should definitely give this one a chance, but if you haven’t seen the first Sherlock Holmes rent it first or you will find yourself a little lost in the plot.