‘Sherlock Holmes: A Game Of Shadows’ is the follow-up to British director Guy Ritchie’s mildly surprising 2009 take on ‘Sherlock Holmes’. Playful and action-packed, Ritchie gave Sherlock a fresh spin that drew in new audiences but had enough clear love and respect for the original source material. Now, here we are with another Sherlock Holmes film and boy does it look a lot like the first one…
The story picks up shortly after the end of the previous instalment, Sherlock Holmes (Robert Downey Jr) has become obsessed with a series of unconnected murders, natural deaths and bombings, believing them all to be the work of Professor James Moriarty (Jared Harris), having been warned of this dangerous criminal mastermind by Irene Adler (Rachel McAdams). Though soon to be married, Dr John Watson (Jude Law) finds himself being drawn back into Sherlock’s investigations, an investigation that will find them teaming up with a mysterious gypsy woman Madame Simza (Noomi Rapace) and travelling across Europe in attempt to uncover and put a stop to Moriarty’s plans. Moriarty, however, turns out to be a formidable opponent and the equal of Holmes in every way.
There is nothing surprising to this sequel as compared to the first one. You’ve still got your cheesy dialogues, your slow-motion action sequences and Sherlock’s thought processes (which links to bone-crushing fights). But what makes this sequel different from the first film is its pace. It’s faster now and it just barely lets up. We have an exciting chase and fight through a theatre, an attack on a train, a nearby forest that turns into a war zone and an escape from a munitions factory. The settings are really impressive, be it the English countryside or the German munitions factory.
Now the most important part/aspect of the film, the main highlight of the film. And that is… (no prizes for guessing what it is)… the RDJ & JL partnership. They are both terrific again in the roles, still bickering like an old married couple. The chemistry between these two guys are unbreakable, they are just too compatible. It is so believable that it would not be a surprise if they were partners in real life. There was a scene set on a train where RDJ dresses up as a drag and asks Law to ‘lie down with me’ (Admittedly to avoid an onslaught of bullets, but still it was way too funny!). I must say that their relationship dominates the whole film.
Oh, and their ‘homoerotic attachment’ with each other was way too intense especially in the scene where they share a dance at a formal ball. I know right.
Another significant relationship would be that of Sherlock and Moriarty. The sense of two intellectual equals, with as much respect and admiration for each other as conflict and antagonism, comes across very strongly here. This leads to several fascinating scenes of the two just talking, with a sense of menace just below the surface. Love it.
Jared harris delivers a great performance, bringing in an underlying danger to Moriarty, the infamous nemesis to Sherlock Holmes. He proves an equal to Downey’s Holmes, replacing the exaggerated mannerisms with a real menace and definite touch of evil.
The original ‘The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo’ star Noomi Rapace stars as a gypsy fortune teller and in a very male story like this one, she was the only real strong female character. Rachel McAdam makes a brief appearance here, only in the beginning. Stephen Fry is convincing as Sherlock’s brother Mycroft Holmes and when he cheerily addresses his brother as “Sherly”, I couldn’t stop smiling. Paul Anderson and Kelly Reilley does an exceptional job as Sebastian Moran, Moriarty’s second in command and Mrs Watson respectively.
Hans Zimmer has once again created a great score, to go along with his Oscar nomination for the first, and contributes a lot to the success of the film.
Apart from being pretty similar to the first instalment, ‘Sherlock Holmes: A Game Of Shadows’ sure is fun and entertaining and as said by RDJ in one particular scene, “dangerous at both ends and crafty in the middle”. It has also one of the best epilogues I’ve watched and is really mentionable. Overall, it is happy to give audiences what entertained them the first time round and is definitely a perfect film for Christmas.
‘Sherlock Holmes: A Game Of Shadows’ opens in cinemas on 22 December with sneak previews from 16 to 18 December!
This is Chella signing off, hoping that RDJ and JL would team up for further adventures.