Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows review by Melissa Orcine - Cinema Paradiso
Robert Downey Jr. is the hyper-intelligent sleuth in ‘Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows’, with his bromantic co-star Jude Law as Dr. John Watson and directed by Guy Ritchie (‘Snatch’, ‘Rocknrolla’). The trio band together again for turn-of-the-century England mysteries and adventures, only much more complex this time with the menace provided by Professor James Moriarty (Jared Harris), who is considered by Holmes as ‘the Napoleon of crime’.
In 2009, Downey, Law, and Ritchie made a hit out of their first foray into revitalizing ‘Sherlock Holmes’. As it is, Holmes is a compelling enough character to make adaptations with, but with Ritchie at the helm, it is given a modern-day action swag usually unseen in period films. For the sequel ‘A Game of Shadows’, there are more explosions, more locations, more conundrums to decipher, and more bromance between Holmes and Watson. Film is more than what’s expected – it is also what makes it too much for the audience.
There is less sparring between Holmes and Moriarty; they play chess mind games from a distance, and the tension that builds between them is not subpar.
Jared Harris as Moriarty does a great job portraying him as a not-so stereotypical villain, no ego-maniacal laughter and sneers here. There are more scenes with Holmes and Watson bickering like an old married couple – a fun dynamic that’s exploited here – and now an introduction of an empowered female, a gypsy in Noomi Rapace (the original Lisbeth Salander in The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo) – and yet, ‘A Game of Shadows’ looks just like a sequel to me, begging for Part Three.
Nothing much has improved – lest you consider Downey’s incoherent English accent from ‘Sherlock Holmes’ as at least understandable this time around – but Ritchie’s bag of tricks of Holmes’ articulating his moves in slow motion before it’s shown in regular speed and slow motions for running and firing guns are just that, the same.
Their take on Holmes is interesting enough but the steampunk quality can get grating and cartoonish. They should have called it ‘Holmes & Watson: Odd Couple’ instead.