Monday, 19 December 2011


Sherlock Holmes: The Game of Shadows [Review]

Opinion: C+

Much as Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law got more intimate to spark off some really hilarious and charming chemistry, there were times when it felt like the screenplay tried too hard to induce as much "bromance" as possible . The central plot investigative case was relatively weak and unchallenging, lacking that satisfying "every piece of puzzle fits together" conclusive sensation that some might be looking for.

Robert Downey Jr. reprises his role as the world’s most famous detective, Sherlock Holmes, and Jude Law returns as his friend and colleague, Dr. Watson, in “Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows.”

Sherlock Holmes has always been the smartest man in the room...until now. There is a new criminal mastermind at large—Professor James Moriarty (Jared Harris)— and not only is he Holmes’ intellectual equal, but his capacity for evil, coupled with a complete lack of conscience, may give him an advantage over the renowned detective.

Around the globe, headlines break the news: a scandal takes down an Indian cotton tycoon; a Chinese opium trader dies of an apparent overdose; bombings in Strasbourg and Vienna; the death of an American steel magnate... No one sees the connective thread between these seemingly random events—no one, that is, except the great Sherlock Holmes, who has discerned a deliberate web of death and destruction. At its center sits a singularly sinister spider: Moriarty.

Holmes’ investigation into Moriarty’s plot becomes more dangerous as it leads him and Watson out of London to France, Germany and finally Switzerland. But the cunning Moriarty is always one step ahead, and moving perilously close to completing his ominous plan. If he succeeds, it will not only bring him immense wealth and power but alter the course of history.

Guy Ritchie seemed to have made this sequel a vehicle for Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law to indulge in each other's company for as long as they could get away with. Indeed, there were moments of "bromance" stirring between Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson that heightened gradually. Some of which created chuckling moments as we witness them teasing each other and bantering back and forth.

But it soon got old real quickly and the screenplay made a grave mistake to depend too much upon it.

Michele and Kieran Mulroney scripted the film with relative good dosage of witty British dialogues and planted most of them within the colon of Downey Jr. to capitalise on his talent to get them sounding more verbally alluring and charismatic.

The bantering between Holmes and Watson was sadly what took centre stage within the film and not even Noomi Rapace who played the gypsy Simza Heron was allowed to steal any limelight despite a good performance. Besides the "bromantic" duo and Rapace, Jared Harris rendered much depth to his villain role as Professor Moriarty.

Not that the weak investigative case mattered much to the majority as the interaction between Holmes and Watson occupied a lot of distracting screentime. There were moments where it tickled your funny bone but there were times when you would just roll your eyes at the coerced jokes cracked. The story turned secondary and it proved to be a bad move as the film ran slightly over 120 minutes to induce fatigue.

In between dense dialogue tongue lashings, action sequences were gratefully inserted with rapid edits and the signature ultra high framerate slow motion emphasis to entertain. I had to say that the forest assault chase was sensually impressive with amazing visuals and sound design.

A pity that Rachel McAdams and Kelly Reilly (both talented actors) were severely underused as their roles had no room within the intentions of the sequel. Topping upon what's already mentioned, the ambiguously irrelevant title (still unable to comprehend its rationale) made the second installment of Sherlock Holmes an extravagant optional luxury this Holiday season.


  1. We are so on opposite sides about this. :) I thought this was far superior to the first, which I loved tremendously. For me the plot was extremely clever and very well-executed. I did not think McAdams was under-utilized at all. Her character meets her end at the hands of Moriarty just as she is supposed to in the books. Her death is why Holmes is drawn even further into the shadow game, the title referring to acts of espionage and counter-terrorism. Adler was a one time brief romance for Holmes and nothing more. If anything, her character was too prominent in the first film.

    I think the chemistry with RDJ and Law only enhanced the film, not outshone it. It made the action sequences more exciting and I thought Noomi fit right in with them and held her own. Holmes' and Watson's banter is very much in keeping with Doyle's vision of their relationship, unlike the Basil Rathbone-Nigel Bruce version.

    I loved the forest assault as well. It was so exciting!

    I, too, would have loved to have seen more of Watson's bride, but you only have so much time. I'm sorry you didn't like this, but I love your honest and thorough review. I'm working on my own and I'm warning you, it's probably going to be a love fest. :)

  2. @Melissa It's exactly why I love having others to reply in disagreement to my opinions. Sometimes it makes me rethink about mine to see if I should go for another round of viewing.

    I may have omitted certain details/virtues out of pure ignorance or blindness, so it's good to see your detailed opinion of it. I can't wait to read your article on it, because I've got a feeling that I'm one of the few who owned a lacklustre take on this.

    And yes, maybe I should watch it again. You've enlightened me much and made my day Melissa! :D

    Do share more here ;)

  3. Thank you so much!! You made my day too. :) I love great film discussion with differing opinions. I will share more as I love coming here.

    I'd love to see this film again and will for sure be buying the DVD. Still working on my review, but will tweet you when I've posted it. I look forward to your response. :)


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