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.
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.
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.
on 20 January 2013
One of the reviewers here claims Guy Ritchie (director) 'reinvents the Sherlock Holmes genre' here. I say this has more in common with Chinese Kung Fu style slow motion films than anything. It actually has less style. It is a Sherlock Holmes not on 7% morphine solution but clearly sniffing lines of cocaine in between takes. I felt it myself after ten minutes, and never has the more traditional approach of Jeremy Brett looked better - and safer for the prospects of my long term sanity. I've just finished it now - I shan't bother with it again. Such a pity as I am such a fan of all the cast members involved.
Be warned: If you are not of the video game generation and prefer your Sherlock Holmes thoughful and eccentric this is NOT for you!
on 29 January 2012
Personally, I thought this was much better than the first! Again, though, Downey Jr. was amazing. It's good to see an American do a fairly decent British accent, probably because he doesn't overdo it. The plot is brilliant and it's tremendously directed by Guy Ritchie. It's something the whole family can enjoy! The story revolves around the investigation of a string of murders across Europe which Sherlock tries to link to Moriarty. A battle of wits between Sherlock and Moriarty is then played out. Lastly, a quick word about Stephen Fry, he was perfect for this role and it's about time he got something like this.
on 4 May 2015
The action, effects and plot in this movie is excellent so overall its very watchable. I love RD jr but I am not much for his depiction of Sherlock and I think its because I love Benedict Cumberbatch's Sherlock so much that nothing compares.
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.
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.
on 24 April 2012
Unlike other reviewers who considered this movie a watered down version of the first i disagree.
Ritchie has set out in this sequel to expand and develop all the characters and spec effects and take them to another level.
In my opinion he has succeeded in all aspects and more....saw this movie on the big screen and absolutely loved it, the story in general sees Holmes locking swords and wits with his intellectual equal and surprisingly convincing Moriarty who unlike the villain from the last episode manages to be a convincing embodiment of evil as well as a genuine intellect with all the understandable neuroses this can create.
The effects are taken on a level although could be criticised as very similar to the last offering, however i must confess that the extra humour elements give the whole film a lift i found myself laughing out loud at times which is unusual for me.
If you loved the first film you should love this one....if you enjoyed the first film but though it lacked a little something then you will LOVE this one. I'd recommend this to all the family its got something for everyone...a purchase i will be making
Over the years the character of Sherlock Holmes has been translated onto screen in a variety of ways - true to Conan Doyle's original (Jeremy Brett), as a comic figure (Michael Caine), as a propaganda instrument (Basil Rathbone) and by a host of others in ways too numerous to mention here. But of all of them, this has to be the most fun.
Guy Ritchie's vision of the Holmes legend manages to get a few names, the odd line and occasional detail from the books, but most of the character of Holmes has been reinvented into Robert Downey Jr's very knowing hero. Watson is transformed into much more of a man of action in one of Jude Law's better performances, and it is good to see the Doctor portrayed as a dependable intelligent man capable of his own thought and action, rather than the blind bumbling fool he is often seen as. There is also a fun cameo for Stephen Fry as Mycroft (the interplay between Holmes and Mycroft seems to give a wink to the execrable Peter Cook/Dudley Moore spoof, if Ritchie watched that film as part of his research then I tip my hat to him for his diligence and willingness to suffer for his art!). Ritchie's directorial vision of a Victorian London just starting to enter the modern age, especially with the pictures of the construction of great monuments and buildings we all take for granted today, is definitely refreshing.
With an almost steam punk atmosphere to his vision of Europe, Ritchie weaves a tale around Holmes' struggle against the machinations of a certain Prof. Moriarty, of infamous memory. Moriarty, played with a gleeful evilness by Jared Harris is an opponent worthy of Holmes, and the final face off between the two is very well realised. Utilising his reinvention of the characters to its utmost Ritcie gives us a well paced action film full of twists, turns, surprised and comedy. It's slick, it's fun, and it's damnably entertaining. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I would guess that serious Holmsians will hate it, but taken on its own terms as a fun film it's admirable and gets a whole hearted five stars from me.