Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows

The year is 1891. A slew of bombings in France and Germany has Europe on the brink of war. Everyone assumes the bombings are the work of anarchists. Everyone, that is, except Sherlock Holmes (Robert Downey Jr.).

His trusty sidekick, Dr. Watson (Jude Law) isn’t with him as before. He’s about to be married. Much to Sherlock’s dismay. After a tussle during Watson’s “stag party,” Sherlock is able to convince Watson to join him on one last endeavor.

Sherlock is convinced, if not obsessed, that the evil mastermind, Professor James Moriarty (Jared Harris) – possibly the only man who can match Holmes intellectually – is behind the bombings. The duo set off to stop Moriarty dastardly plan. The trick is pinning it on him. And proving it.

Partnering with a gypsy woman whose brother may be a key part of the plot to start a world war, they head off to Switzerland to get to the bottom of things.

Holmes is crazier than before in this installment. He oft drinks embalming fluid, and is experimenting with the adrenal secretions of sheep. Robert Downey Jr. shines in this role. It’s almost as though a little of himself shows through. Either that, or he’s an incredibly talented actor at portraying characters a little off-center. Jude Law holds his own as Watson. And we also get to see Stephen Fry as Mycroft Holmes, Sherlock’s eccentric brother. As if the film needs more comic relief.

You have to suspend reality a bit. Especially for the fight scenes. Holmes almost has the ability to predict the future, which he uses to his advantage. He also uses simple observations as a way to immediately deduce what has happened based on a splatter of plaster or a drop of wine. It’s used as a plot device, and possibly used to speed up portions of the story that may drag out a little longer as the wheels in his head spin. However, it’s not offensively done and I didn’t find it terribly distracting.

The cinematography is, well, pretty sweet. To put it technically. At times, it almost turns into a “bullet time” shot, for those familiar with The Matrix series. During a chase scene in the woods, this was very skillfully employed. I have to say, that it almost seemed to be filmed for 3D, even though I don’t believed it will be released as such. (This is one of those movies that could very easily be translated into that medium, without looking hacky.)

It’s a highly entertaining movie, even if a touch predictable at times. But, as was stated before, it’s not about the predictability. It’s about the fun. Only, this film is much higher on the fun quotient. Run time is just over 2 hours, but it doesn’t feel overly long. And it didn’t have any slow spots to bog the film down.

This is one of those rare cases where the sequel is comparable to the original, if not exceeding it. So if you like the first Sherlock Holmes, you will definitely enjoy this one.


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