A Game of Shadows is the sequel to the 2009 Sherlock Holmes starring Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law. Although the new film features a lot of action sequences and intrigue, I still prefer the first Sherlock Holmes movie, and you must watch the first film before the second in order to understand the characters and motivations in A Game of Shadows.
Dr. Watson (Jude Law, Contagion) is about to get married, and he is counting on his friend and comrade Sherlock Holmes (Robert Downey Jr., Iron Man 2) to throw him a “stag” (bachelor) party. However, Holmes needs Watson’s help on an unfinished case. It turns out that Professor Moriarty (Jared Harris, TV’s Fringe) has been stockpiling weapons and bandages and has become involved with specific events that he hopes will turn France and Germany against each other, thus resulting in a war for which Moriarty will be able to meet the demand for supplies. Moriarty sends assassins to kill Watson and his new bride (Kelly Reilly, Sherlock Holmes) on the train which they are taking to their honeymoon destination, but luckily Holmes has anticipated this and is on the train as well. From there, Holmes and Watson must join forces once again to take down the Professor, who is planning on causing an incident at a Peace Summit in Switzerland. In addition, they receive some help from the gypsy fortune teller Madam Simza (Noomi Rapace, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo), whose brother may be involved in the Professor’s plan.
As in the first film, Jude Law and Robert Downey Jr. have a great chemistry together. The movie employs some slow-motion action sequences, which are fun to watch, and also occasionally doubles back to show scenes from Holmes’ point of view, showing the audience things they missed the first time. The middle of the movie was a tad slow-paced, though, and although the villain is shown at the beginning, I had a hard time putting two-and-two together as to why he was “the bad guy”; once they head to Switzerland, though, it becomes clearer as to what his “end game” is.
Yes, see this film. It wasn’t as good as the first Sherlock, in my opinion, but still provides great fun with a lot of twists, for which the Sherlock movie franchise is becoming known. The soundtrack is similar to the first, as well, with lots of violin music (Holmes himself plays violin, as seen in the first film) and dissonant chords throughout. The ending has a small twist that most viewers will probably see coming, but the way it is played out gave the audience (and myself) much amusement.
Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows is in theaters today, December 16th, and is rated PG-13 with a runtime of 129 minutes.
Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5
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