Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows – Movie Review

Guy Ritchie’s sequel to last year’s Sherlock Holmes blockbuster hit the screens last week, and this is the first opportunity that I’ve had to see it. ‘Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows‘, pits Holmes against his arch-enemy against a backdrop of growing turmoil in Europe.
Jude Law continues to play Watson impeccably, but Robert Downey Junior seems to be a bit more perfunctory in his performance than last time, with only the eternally witty Stephen Fry as elder brother Mycroft to give the piece the intellect and wit that all Holmes stories are supposed to have. I won’t waste too many words on the decidedly uninspiring character of Professor Moriarty, who unfortunately comes out of the shadows mentioned in the title far too early – just after the opening credits in fact. Played as more of a jaded Oxford don than a brilliant megalomaniac bent on world domination, he was a major let-down.
This being a Guy Ritchie flick, there is of course an unending stream of fisticuffs, explosions and chases for the audience to enjoy but it is layered on pretty thick – there’s none of the subtlety we saw in last year’s outing. The rather carefully crafted technique to illustrate Holmes’ thinking processes of slow-mo camera plus voice over is also overdone in this piece, which they even begrudgingly acknowledge in one of the closing scenes.
Don’t misunderstand – Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows isn’t terrible, but it could have been so much more. If they’d given more attention to the characterisation and the script rather than the set pieces and the explosions it would have been showered with awards – instead its just a likeable but forgettable flick. Three and a half out of five.
About Pete Stean

Pete Stean is a London-based writer and photographer. He can also be found on Twitter and on Google Plus.

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