SHERLOCK HOLMES: A GAME OF SHADOWS
Starring Robert Downey Jr., Jude Law and Jared Harris
Written by Michele Mulroney and Kieran Mulroney
Directed by Guy Ritchie
Running time 115 min
MPAA Rating PG-13
Selig Film Rating FULL PRICE
I was not a fan of the first in this newest series of Sherlock Holmes. While I could appreciate the effort that went into the telling of the tale, I was still enamored with the old Basil Rathbone series. But, I was in the minority with the Robert Downey Jr. interpretation. The first film was so successful that a sequel was warranted, Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows.
The film starts literally with a bang, a building being blown up by a nefarious group. It is a dangerous world where countries are on the brink of world war. As some diplomats work to find political solutions, others see that the only way forward is through the haze of conflict.
But life goes on and Dr. John Watson (Jude Law) is in love and planning to marry Mary (Kelly Reilly). It is obvious that he has found a different partner than Holmes. But, Holmes is still the same obsessed man, still working on the greatest case of his career. It is a case that concerns the love of his life Irene Adler (Rachel McAdams in a cameo). Holmes knows that everything going on with the bombings is somehow connected to a Professor James Moriarty (Jared Harris). Holmes sees the connection between Moriarty and different acts of sedition; he just doesn’t understand the ‘why’.
Soon, Watson is married and taking the train on his honeymoon. The journey is a set-up to end Watson’s life and soon Holmes must save him. In one of the big set pieces of the work, the two destroy a moving train and save Mary.
The duo tracks down the plans of Moriarty, a plan that leads to a gypsy fortune teller Madam Sirnza Heron (Noomi Repace) and Holmes brother Mycroft Holmes (Stephen Fry).
The film twists and turns to the discovery of the Moriarty scheme and saving the world from destruction. We also get one of the most exciting chess games ever put on film.
Robert Downey Jr. seems to be having the time of his life playing Sherlock Holmes as an action figure. He smirks and pauses, delivering witty banter with Jude Law while pushing every button. There is this spark in the performance that wins.
Jude Law has the hardest job of Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows. He has to hold himself together with this manic Holmes interpretation going on all around him. The two struggle trying not to break each other up and the fun reflects on their faces.
This is the rarest of sequels, one that betters the original. Guy Ritchie has found a formula between action/adventure and Victorian morays. This film just rips across the screen with a fury one seldom sees in a period piece. He is a master player, placing the pieces in their right place just before the attack. This is a methodically paced thrill ride that never lets up on the action while keeping the plot in the forefront.
In this season of Oscar push, it is refreshing to see a film that just wants to entertain in a grand way. Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows is that film. It has everything one wants from a blockbuster, a mixture of fun and adventure. This is one sequel not to be missed.