Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows
Most aptly described as a 'Victorian Lethal Weapon', here is a crowd pleaser than plays firmly to its strengths from the opening exchanges. Naturally for a blockbuster sequel the scale has been upped and there is more on the line for our heroes. Essentially a classic buddy movie sequel, this is about as much fun as it could've been - which is high praise for series director, Guy Ritchie.
We convene with Sherlock (Downey Jr. obviously enjoying himself) again as he's reunited with old flame Irene Adler (McAdams returning briefly). After a short, flirtatious altercation with Holmes, she meets with her dastardly boss Professor Moriarty (a menacing Harris), who promptly poisons her stating that her love of Holmes has rendered her useless to him. Naturally, Holmes and a recently wed Watson (Jude Law in his best role) are hot on his trail, and, along with a mysterious gypsy (newbie Repace) attempt to get to the bottom of another evil scheme.
Ritchie is trying to do something fresh with the action on 'Holmes' which is a challenge in itself because of the Victorian setting. It's a difficult balance to strike - slick and retro - but the cockney helmer does a sterling job of it in this very entertaining sequel. As with any film of this ilk, the core relationship is what drives it forward. Downey is great as Arthur Conan Doyle's titular sleuth; he brings such a fun, frenetic energy to the role that the fact that it's so different from the source material doesn't even cross your mind. Law, while never the movie star studios wanted you to believe, is still effective and likeable as the sidekick in a role that indicates he's better suited to character work than leading man - despite his looks.
In terms of balls out action, Ritchie does easily his finest work to date. While the hand-to-hand stuff is a little choppy initially, when the action goes up in scale so too does the enjoyment. There's a (what really should have been a concluding) sequence towards the end that is shot in stunning slow motion which really begs to be seen on the big screen. Naturally finding Holmes on co in immediate peril, that it involves a dash through the woods and some exploding trees is all you need to know.
The plot is a little convoluted and it would've been a better film with at least ten minutes shaved off, but Game of Shadows is still a blast.
Story by Mike Sheridan | 15:17 | Tuesday 15th May 2012 | DVD review
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