For fans of the famed Sherlock Holmes, the sequel to the 2009 hit won't be disappointed. Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, starring Robert Downey, Jr. (Iron Man) and Jude Law (Sherlock Holmes) made nearly $40 million in its opening weekend. It has since been trumped by the likes of Ethan Hunt in Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, but don't let that deter you from taking a couple of hours to catch this flick.
The film starts off in the wake of Sherlock (Downey, Jr.) using his ever-eccentric genius to track down a diabolical mastermind in Professor James Moriarty (Jared Harris of Natural Born Killers). Holmes has enlisted the help of his newlywed partner, Dr. John Watson (Law), whose love-hate relationship with his brother-in-arms causes for even more dry humor than normal.
After an explosive tragedy (I dare not give it away), Holmes and Watson decide to enlist the help of gypsy Madam Simza Heron (Noomi Rapace of Girl With the Dragon Tattoo...the Sweedish version) to uncover a mystery involving her own brother and the famed Moriarty. What Holmes is not prepared for is the wit and intelligence that matches his own, leading to the biggest challenge he has ever faced.
Most people are saying if you've seen the first one, then you've seen the second. I don't necessarily believe this is true. Sure, the plot goes along in a slightly similar fashion, but you have to understand the essence of classic Sherlock Holmes tales. This film doesn't serve as a copycat, but rather as a second helping in a series, much like the classics.
I found the plot engaging and completely involved from beginning to end. The twists and turns will keep you at the edge of your seats and, unless someone has ruined it for you, the ending will not be what you expect. There is an ever-mounting tension involving the plot of the evil professor and the crew of this film built the tension to its peak at the climax. It was very nicely done.
The acting was very well done in this film. Downey, Jr. and Law make such an invigorating, bromantic tag team that one can't help but love them. The wit and humor is present even at some of the more stressful moments of this film. The character development is always something I admired about this growing franchise. But this one was even more so done with Sherlock Holmes. At the helm of his eccentric ways is a rather deep and complicated man dealing with his own form of loss. And the way he deals with it is unique (as is everything with Sherlock Holmes), yet it shows a different dimension to our hero that hasn't been seen before.
Down to the technicalities, this film fired on all cylinders. The soundtrack was brilliantly done by Hans Zimmer and the periodic costuming was beautifully done to capture the timeless aura this film possesses. Guy Ritchie returns as director and was just as brilliant as before. His seamless vision for this film was captured by both the cast and crew to bring together a beautifully done film.
If the explosions, adventure, and deeply intricate plot are what you're looking for this holiday season, then you can't go wrong with Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows. This film will not only keep you on your toes, but it is a bag of laughs, a ton of fun, and a great adventure to go on with you and your family and friends.
My rating: 4.0 out of 5 stars.