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on 15 May 2012
Watched this last night and although I enjoyed it and it is in no way a bad film, I found that Guy has this time gone all out with the special effects, photography and action but forgotten one fairly important ingredient - a good story!! The plot was very thin and only served as a backing for the action. I also found the slo-mo a bit tiresome after a while, even though it was well done. Still prefer the first movie and hope that if he does a third one he cuts out some of the flashy photography and brings back a bit more in the way of a story. Enjoyable but could have been so much better IMHO.
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The new take on the classic character of Sherlock Holmes from two years ago proved to be quite divisive. Some fans of the original stories hated how much the character had changed. Personally, I knew he was very different, but I loved the movie anyway. So I was looking forward to Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows.

As Dr. Watson (Jude Law) prepares for his wedding, Sherlock Holmes (Robert Downey, Jr.) has become obsessed with figuring out what Professor Moriarty (Jared Harris) is up to so he can stop him. This obsession leads him to almost botch Watson's stage night.

But when Moriarty turns things person for both men, they must reteam to figure out his end game and find a way to stop him. As they follow the trail all overEurope, can they do it?

So those who complained about the first movie will pretty much find the same things here. The movie is as much about the action scenes as it is the mystery, and it takes the same liberties with the characters. Since I'm not attached to the cannon versions, I don't mind these changes in the slightest.

They seem to have upped the comedy factor this time around. The friends I saw it with and I were laughing so hard at various parts of the film. Yes, there were the more serious moments, and the movie certainly earns it's PG-13 rating from the violence, but it's a lot of fun along the way.

As a mystery, the plot is weaker than it could have been. As one friend pointed out, the story feels unfocused for much of the first half. The movie is still entertaining, but it's not really until the second half that it appears we're actually going somewhere with all the action. Again, the climax does explain some bits of the story, and it logically falls into place, but it's not as tight as it could have been.

Most of the action scenes are great and lots of fun. Occasionally, they go overboard with the slow motion. There's one scene in particular that turns into a mess instead of being interesting to watch. The special effects, on the other hand, are seamless and compliment the story.

The acting is uniformly great. Once again, Kelly Reilly is grossly underused as Mary Watson. Jude Law and Robert Downey, Jr. have the perfectly chemistry to pull off the relationship between their characters. I truly buy their deep friendship. I'm not a big Downey fan, but he is great as Holmes with the right amount of swagger and the occasional bits of vulnerability. While I've focused on the stars and one supporting character, the rest of the cast is great as well.

The climatic scene between Holmes and Moriarty is a wonderful piece of storytelling and filmmaking. Don't worry, I'm not going to spoil anything. But all I could do is sit back in awe at how they'd pulled off the perfect scene. The acting between Downey and Jared Harris was perfect.

Even though this movie has some flaws, I think I enjoyed it more than the first one. Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows once again takes liberties with the source materials, but it is lots of fun.
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on 21 January 2014
Sequels should be bigger and better without losing what made the original a success. If that is the basic framework a sequel should take then Sherlock Holmes A Game Of Shadows has it buttoned down to a tee.

More action and a better story help to elevate this particular adventure above most others, however with the inclusion of Sherlock's most famous foe, Moriarty, even the fans can rejoice. By now both Jude Law's and Robert Downey Jnr's easy going relationship is so effortless you would think this was all real. Their banter has a boyish charm to it and the film excels when they are both on screen together.

The action is better and bolder than before. The now trademark use of slow-mo to map out the following fight is used to much better effect here. Rather than distracting it actually elicits an excitement missing from most action blockbusters these days.

Well paced and exciting at every turn, Game of Shadows is a must watch for any discernible fan and an entertaining blockbuster for everyone else.
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VINE VOICEon 26 November 2012
There is a lot that might be said about Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows, I'll try to keep it to a minimum. We are served everything we loved from the first movie with a lot more bolted on besides. There is a lot of humour and excellent touches that demonstrate Shadows was made by people who know what they're doing and having a lot of fun doing it. It is superbly stylised with enigmatic acting, if woefully wasting the very talented female leads. It takes the plot beyond Sherlock's usual remit, galloping across Europe with assassinations, hand to hand combat and explosions usually reserved for Bond or Bourne. Come the end the pace has been so fast you might feel a little dizzy with several quite puzzling but pertinent questions on the tip of your tongue, which matter little because we have been so wonderfully entertained.
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on 13 January 2015
I managed 10 minutes of this film I found it ridiculous. If your a fan of Jeremy Brett and his portrayal of Sherlock Holmes avoid this. The first few minutes of this has Sherlock Holmes walking through a market wearing an obvious disguise following a woman carrying a package and she leads him into a trap where he then sees off 4 men no less without any effort he then detonated a bomb in a auction again not a scratch. When Dr Watson visits he is greeted in the hallway with a forest covered area and even animals living in this greenery and Sherlock Holmes shooting arrows at him but the end of this for me was a dog lying on the floor And Watson asking Holmes how many times he was going to kill his dog and Holmes then injecting the dog with something and the dog immediately started running around enough is enough. I cannot understand how this atrocity gets any stars
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on 18 August 2014
When I went to see the first Sherlock Holms film, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I feared for a dumb Hollywood remaining with big actions scenes and holms reduced to a sexy action hero. While the film did have big effects and action, it also had a well written story and a wonderful performance and characterisation from Robert Downey Jr as Sherlock.

Its sequel, A Game of Shadows, however, is far closer to what I originally fear.

Apart from an interesting twist at the beginning, the plot was pitifully weak. Perhaps it’s because I have been watching too much of the BBC’s modern day version of Sherlock, but I expected a well throughout, clever story with twists and turns along with more ‘aha!’ revelations. What we got was a simply narrative, with little in terms of impressive ‘deductions’ or wits. At the end, I could not help but to think that Moriarty’s plan was too basic and ‘James Bond’ like, and not really worthy of such a great character. It also lacked in emotion for most part, though again that could just be me comparing it to Sherlock. The fact the film seems to jump across the globe didn’t help ether, as it served little purpose. I missed the Victorian streets of London early on.

There is plenty of action to behold, and while impressive some (like the chase through the forest) go on for far too long.

The cast is the highlight, with Robert Downey Jr stealing every scene he is in while Jared Harris makes for an interesting, if horrifically miss-used, Moriarty. The best scenes in the film are simply involving these two actors when they are alone, confronting each other mentally rather than physically for the most part. Jude Law is alright as Watson, although I have never found his adaption of the character very likable. Noomi Rapace is a good actress, but her character Simza fails at being a memorable heroine. I enjoyed Steven Fry as Mycroft, even if he was played for laughs more than anything.

In the end, it’s an alright action film, but one that’s not as smart as it thinks it is, and had the potential to be alot better.
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on 1 January 2015
How Hollywood misses the mark spending millions on producing a film flawed by poor casting. Robert Downey Junior's personal egotism is all that comes out in his portrayal of Sherlock Holmes in what is a fast paced action romp with lots of fancy slow motion replays of action sequences and fight scenes. Jude Law plays a rather wooden Dr Watson and there is absolutely no chemistry between the two Characters. Where is the subtle deductive logic and solving of complex riddles or the quirky uncomfortable traits of Sherlock in the company of women or his addiction etc. Whilst the special effects are good one has no feel for the logic or credibility of the storyline.
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on 6 June 2012
Holmes and Watson are back on the case in director Guy Ritchie's sequel to the 2009 hit Sherlock Holmes . But while the stakes, humour, and style of that first instalment are all ramped-up considerably in Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows , the mystery here isn't nearly as compelling, and, from the back-alley brawl that gets the action underway, Ritchie compensates for a fairly pedestrian script with total stylistic overkill.

Aside from Downey Jr.'s eccentric interpretation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's brilliant detective and Ritchie's vitalizing direction, one of the primary factors that made 2009's Sherlock Holmes such fun was the "supernatural" angle of the mystery. Though anyone even remotely familiar with the Holmes mythology likely knew from the very beginning that the more fantastical aspects of the story weren't as otherworldly as they initially appeared, the fact that we never quite knew what Holmes was up against made watching him piece together the puzzle all the more intriguing. Here, Holmes engages in a high-stakes battle of wits against his most-famous nemesis, Professor Moriarty a malevolent genius played with diabolical relish by Jared Harris. The problem is that we know precisely who Holmes is up against from the moment we see a photo of Moriarty pinned to the detective's wall (directly connecting him to a series of suspicious deaths) early in the film, and thanks to some not-so-subtle clues dropped early on, it doesn't take long to figure out precisely what Moriarty is planning. So while Moriarty's plan may be much more destructive and grander in scale than that of Lord Blackwood's scheme from the original, it sorely lacks the enigmatic punch that kept us guessing throughout that first film and leaves us with little to do but laugh at Downey Jr.'s over-the-top performance.

When Watson has his first encounter with Holmes in the sequel, Holmes' befuddled landlady Mrs. Hudson reveals that the detective has been sustaining himself on a steady diet of coffee, cocoa leaves, and booze. Immediately after, we see Holmes slurp a glass of embalming fluid with barely a flinch. And while these explanations may go a long way in justifying Holmes' heightened idiosyncrasies, Downey Jr.'s cartoonish flourishes threaten to become the film's greatest distraction, rather than its greatest asset. Admittedly, this has quite a bit to do with the script as well (in the back-alley brawl that opens the film, it appears that Holmes has actually become a psychic rather than simply a skilled observer), and ultimately it's the buddy chemistry between wild-eyed Downey Jr. and staunch straight man Jude Law, not the main mystery, that rescues Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows from being a complete disaster. Sadly, co-star Noomi Rapace is all but wasted in thankless supporting role, though Stephen Fry still manages to get a few big laughs as Sherlock's brother Mycroft Holmes, who proves that quirkiness runs in the family.

With the cinematographer giving Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows an even richer visual texture than the first film and composer Hans Zimmer appropriately expanding the themes to a more majestic scale, it's easy to get caught up in the style and action of this sequel and overlook the intricate yet clumsy screenplay. I really do think this is where the film is let down, it's almost as if the director is trying to constantly distract the audience with these 300 -esque special effects. Perhaps if Ritchie can keep the core team that worked on this film together but recruit some new screenwriters who actually know how to craft a satisfying mystery, there's a chance of turning the Holmes films into a successful trilogy. Otherwise, it may be wise to leave well enough alone. But no matter what, something tells me that Hollywood is going to flog this cash cow for everything it is worth.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 28 May 2012
Robert Downey Jr. (Iron Man) & Jude Law (Enemy at the Gates) reprise their roles as Shrlock Holmes & Dr. John Watson in this mind twisting seuqel. In this outing Sherlock & Watson must overcome their differences once more & work togher in order to save the World from Professor James Moriarty's scheme to create a World conflict.

Rachel McAdams as Irene Adler from the first Sherlock Holmes gives an early cameo only, shame, as we are presented with some new friends & foes. For the first time Homles brother Mycroft appears, deliciously played in his Fable 3 style by Stephen Fry (Blackadder Goes Forth) & Noomi Rapace hot off the back of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo appears as the main female lead Madam Simza, inplace of McAdams. Meanwhile on the enemy front we have a first & possible last outing ? for Professor James Moriarty , played by Jared Harris(son of the late Richard Harris), best known to me as David Robert Jones from Fringe, who's smug intellectual acting style, he seems to be stero typed into playing these roles. But i guess as Mark Strong finds out, once your cast in a paticular role & do well at it, you cant seem to get away from it.

Overall, i found this Shrolock Holmes seuqel, once again directed by Guy Ritchie (Lock Stock ), to be just as appealing & interesting as the first. Again like the original, this will be a film that you will have to watch a couple of times to take eveything in, as there is so much going on it's hard to process it all in one sitting. The traits & touches re-appear, with the slow downed fighting sequences with Holmes commentary, Downey Jr. in various disguises, beautiful Victorian settings, some very captivating slow motion effects & Holmes does Jackie Chan proud with some neat fast paced Jackie Chan-esque action sequences.

So as we deduce, the leads were solid as ever, the chemistry/spark between Downey Jr. & Law was still there, which gave the film that enjoyable feeling of re-visiting a couple of old friends in their love/hate relationship. And the majority of the newcomers were great support, although, i have to say that Noomi Rapace who is an unkown quantity to me, seemed to be underused. Her character wasnt as interesting or have as many lines as Rachel McAdams with Irene Adler in the first film & she seemed to be eating more than acting which would back this theory up. Watch out for Downey Jr. looking like the Joker from Batman The Dark Knight, intentional or not.

Upon final deduction, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows is as enjoyable as the original Sherlock Holmes movie. Even though it goes for a more action heavy story, it comes togher to create a good piece of popcorn cinema. Reccomended.
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on 16 December 2011
In 2009s Sherlock Holmes, director Guy Richie took Arthur Conan Doyle's Victorian sleuth and completely re-invented him as an action hero for a modern audience, shocking purists the world over. There were fist fights, endless banter with his faithful compatriot Dr. Watson and silly disguises galore. I liked it immediately. Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows goes one step further, taking the same formula from the first film and cranking up the volume, pace and budget.

This is certainly not the Holmes we know from Conan Doyle's classic stories. There are similarities of course; his brilliant mind, his keen skills of observation, his arrogance and his experimentation with various substances that Conan Doyle's books allude to. But Conan Doyle's Holmes would never have been pursued by soldiers through a German forest while being shelled with mortar fire. I for one am glad for this `re-imagining'. We've seen plenty of Sherlock Holmes TV adaptations in the past (the best being the BBC's current adaptation, the excellent `Sherlock'), but this is a very different animal, an actioner with a huge sense of fun and adventure, not intended to be true to Conan Doyle's books in any way. The two films together represent what is surely by far and away the best spell in Richie's career as a film director.

The plot, some elements of which are drawn (so very loosely) from `The Final Problem', is almost inconsequential to the enjoyment of the film, but involves a scheme by Holmes' arch nemesis Professor Moriarty to start a war in Europe with a campaign of murders and bombings in France and Germany, his motive being profit from his investment in a huge factory developing new artillery and munitions. In the meanwhile Holmes is struggling to adapt to the prospect of a life solving mysteries and beating up crooks on his own, as Dr. Watson is about to marry Mary (Kelly Reilly) and submit to a peaceful life as a family man. But will he give up a life of excitement so easily?

Thankfully all of the main cast members that made the first film such a joy to watch are here, plus a few new additions; the excellent Stephen Fry as Holmes' self satisfied brother Mycroft, Jared Harris makes a creepy and malevolent Moriarty and The Girl with the Dragon Tatoo's Noomi Rapace appears as a gypsy fortune-teller. The chemistry between the leads Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law is still electric and their double act is thoroughly engaging. Many were originally sceptical at the casting of Downey Jr. as such a quintessentially British hero, but he has really made the role his own and puts in another highly charismatic turn, with superb comedic timing.

Richie's direction is slick, and he clearly has a great production team behind him. The action scenes are frequent and thrilling, particularly an escape from a German arms factory while chased by German soldiers and an inventive shoot-out on a moving steam train. One thing I particularly enjoy about these films is the picture of Victorian times as one of great wonder; a time when amazing advances were being made in the world of science, technology and industry and Richie never misses an opportunity to throw in some new gadget or weapon.

Shortness of plot is the films most glaring drawback, and there is not really much of a case for Holmes to `solve'; the plot is more `007' than `Sherlock Holmes'. Perhaps a little sprinkle of Conan Doyle here wouldn't have gone amiss. Jared Harris is a little underused as Moriarty until the final reel, and the same might be said of Noomi Rapace, whose presence becomes less noticeable as the film draws to its conclusion. But these are fairly minor gripes and actually barely noticeable until subsequent reflection.

It's not Holmes as we know him, for sure, but you'll struggle to find a film that is more raucously entertaining. Is it as good as 2009s Sherlock Holmes? I'll have to see it again to decide, but it's marvellous escapist entertainment nonetheless. I enjoyed it tremendously, and can't recommend it enough. 7.5/10.
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