‘Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows’ Movie Review
Let me start off by saying the film is good. I say this first because I have a feeling this may come off a bit more critical than praiseworthy. In the end, though, the film delivers in a way that makes it worth the trip to the theater.
Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows is the sequel to Guy Ritchie’s 2009 hit Sherlock Holmes. In his latest installment, Ritchie tells the story of Sherlock (Robert Downey, Jr.) and Dr. Watson (Jude Law) as they try to stop the devilishly intelligent Professor Moriarty (Jared Harris). As Holmes starts to connect random crimes back to Moriarty, he realizes that Watson must be spurned out of his honeymoon to do one last job that will save Europe (and the rest of the world). Moriarty’s motive is simple: to create global warfare.
With such a plot, the film lags pretty much from the get-go, making it seem impossible to create some sort of story that hasn’t been seen before. This isn’t to say the movie is predictable per se (far from it, in actuality), but it also isn’t groundbreaking.
The center of the plot revolves around two important relationships. These relationships have both their highlights and their downfalls. Since neither is overly romantic, it is a breath of fresh air to see the movie go in a different direction. The bro-mance, instead, between Holmes and Watson becomes one of the central relationships. The writers were smart to play with this aspect, since it creates the most comedy.
The other relationship is between the equally intelligent and creative Holmes and Moriarty. However, this relationship is the one that doesn’t work out (entirely). Believe me, there is at least one incredible moment between the two, but for the most part, it doesn’t work out quite to its potential.
Connecting the newest film to the elder, we run into a similar problem involving the villains. In order to adequately capture the hero-villain complex, the characters must be carefully constructed. In Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, the audience doesn’t get enough time with Moriarty, leaving his character underdeveloped. This is a true tragedy because he is such an interesting person.
Really, a lot of the characters seemed to be ignored when it comes to development. They introduce some new ones, with the biggest addition being Sim (Noomi Rapace), but we get very little of her background to create any attraction towards her character. I would’ve liked a little bit more.
Ultimately, this is where the main problem can be found.
Now, I’ll need to revert back to the opening paragraph, where I still admit the film is good. The criticisms may seem harsh, but I can’t say the film is gutless either. Sherlock Holmes, as a character, is still fun to watch, and Downey, Jr. is still the perfect fit for the role. He’s smart, witty, and outrageous all at once. It is tough to find another person quite like him.
Also, Ritchie creates some great action sequences, utilizing a unique style that can be found in all of his films. Be warned, though, that this still isn’t up to par with his greatest films, such as Snatch and Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels. Still, he creates action and humor simultaneously, which has become one of his trademarks. It’s a crying shame we got to see a majority of the good parts in the trailers, though.
Although I wouldn’t necessarily say the original Sherlock Holmes needed a sequel, I wasn’t disappointed when I heard there was one in development either. After finally seeing it, I’m still glad they made it. Despite the issues it had with characters, primarily the villain, it still delivers on some key parts, both plot and style-wise. The action is the catalyst for entertainment, but the end leaves us with enough to warrant the price of admission.