SHERLOCK HOLMES: A GAME OF SHADOWS (2011)

 

SHERLOCK HOLMES: A GAME OF SHADOWS (2011) 3

 

Director: Guy Ritchie
Writers: Kieran Mulroney and Michele Mulroney
Cast: Robert Downey Jr, Jude Law, Jared Harris, Noomi Rapace, Rachel McAdams and Stephen Fry
Studio: Warner Brothers

Amidst the bombings and destruction which are ravaging Europe, Sherlock Holmes’s partner, Dr. John Watson is finally getting married with his fiancée Mary. After being engaged in the first film, they are finally getting married and a short funny wedding scene has been reserved in the film. They’re even going for a honeymoon in Brighton. Or they were supposed to go for a honeymoon.  The train the couple boarded was filled with Moriarty’s henchmen and a loud, explosive battle ensues eliminating any hopes of an upcoming honeymoon. Even though Watson had been planning to retire from adventuring with Holmes after his wedding, he reluctantly becomes Holmes’s partner one more time while his wife is taken care of by Holmes’s brother, Mycroft. And the duo will receive an additional member to form a trio: the mysterious gypsy Madam Simza. Together, they try to stop Moriarty from continuing his cruel schemes and Holmes learns about Moriarty’s plan to start a war in which he will personally benefit from.

There are lots of action scenes that keep the film exciting and keep the film running in a constant, fast pace. The action sequences are louder, much more explosive, and much more energetic than the ones present in the predecessor. They are very loud, operatic, and exuberant. But some of the battle sequences are surprisingly quiet, such as a simple chess game held between Holmes and Moriarty. While you think a chess game would be boring, Guy Ritchie filmed it as if it was a grand battle. The sounds, the atmosphere, and the dialog adds another layer of tension and makes the chess game scene more atmospheric.

Though there is an element of mystery in this film, it is not as in-depth as the first film. Rather the focus is on the action sequences and clever humor. This is not necessarily a bad thing though; in fact it helps move the plot along. The first film suffered because the story was slow. In this Holmes though, there is not one second that drags. The story itself is not special, but its pace is what counts. Walking out of the theater, I felt refreshed and glad that I saw this movie.  Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law are once again a true treat to watch as Holmes and Watson. Their chemistry and interactions are perfect; it’s easy to tell that both had fun with the script and with each other. Jared Harris as Professor Moriarty gives a solid performance, as a cold, manipulative, power hungry villain. Unlike Mark Strong in the first film, he is a believable antagonist. Noomi Rapace is a nice flavor as Madam Sim.

What hurts the film is Richie’s incessant need to use slow motion in every action sequence. While it works insanely and surprisingly well for the film’s centrepiece involving a foot chase through a forest, it feels like overkill in almost every other instance. We understand from the first film that Holmes likes to evaluate the moves of both his adversaries and himself before he makes them, but watching him plot it out helps drag the film out longer than it needs to be. It is fun and worthwhile when it is used sparingly, or used to draw attention to something specific. But when Richie is one-upping Zack Snyder in the worst possible way, it begs the question of whether he learned any mistakes from the first film or not.

RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW!

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