Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows
now on: Blu-ray, DVD, & combo pack
The game is afoot again in Sherlock Holmes A Game of Shadows. Holmes (Robert Downey Jr.) and Watson (Jude Law) come face to face with Professor Moriarty (Jared Harris). Watson arrives at Holmes’s house for his stag party, Holmes has connected the dots between a string of crimes and Moriarty. Because Watson is getting married, Holmes tries to keep Watson out of the game that he and Moriarty are playing. But Moriarty knows that taking out Watson will hurt Holmes more than hurting Holmes himself. Holmes shanghais Watson’s honeymoon in order to keep the Watsons safe. Noomi Rapace joins the adventure this time as a gypsy looking for her missing brother who happens to be working for the professor. The party follows leads to Paris and beyond.
Like the previous movie, the characters are wonderful. It is great to see Watson come into his own and be able to show the skills he has learned from Holmes. Downey Jr. portrays Holmes wonderfully, injecting humor into a vey serious character. Rapace’s gypsy is a welcome addition. Her character was both strong and vulnerable. Reducing Rachel McAdams’ role works well, not because the character is flawed, but because of McAdams’ subpar acting. The only other character issue was Harris. Harris seemed not to be able to find a middle ground with Moriarty; he is either overacting or underwhelming. The saving grace for his character is in the final scenes as he and Holmes go head to head in a thinking wart.
There are two big drawbacks to the movie. The first being that the movie covers so much ground. The movie encompasses the entire Moriarty tale including, to fans of the stories, a very familiar ending. The story could have spanned several movies, but Guy Ritchie was trying to create a comprehensive tale with finality instead of just another sequel lead in.
The second drawback is the shift in tone. The original film was very much a buddy/detective story. The second movie shifts to an action film. While this keeps the movie exciting and propels the plot forward, the witty banter between Holmes and Watson has been greatly reduced. This shift makes the sequel a different kind of movie. Some say it was better than the first one, but personally I do not agree.
The Blu-ray only version contains minimal special features limited to three features with behind the scenes look on the two friends, their nemesis, and look at making Holmesavision.
A great follow up to a franchise that should have another sequel.