Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Sherlock Holmes: A Game Of Shadows Review


Sherlock Holmes was a lively re-imagining of the legendary detective for the new age audience. It surprised everyone with its wit, sarcasm, action and an engaging story. But does the sequel succeed in recreating the magic?


While we have seen a lot of mindless movies (Transformers?) in 2011, Sherlock Holmes A Game of Shadows, thankfully, follows a different path.

What worked for the first film was the mystery element. Lots of questions popped up here and then and Holmes really had to work on them. Even though there a few mystery elements present now and then, they are not as convincing as the ones in the 1st film. You know the full details immediately.

The story is of little importance. The dastardly Professor Moriarty (Jared Harris) is planning to engineer World War 1 some 23 years early by using anarchists to blow up French and German dignitaries in such a way as to annoy both countries. Why does Moriarty want to do this? Because he is an arms seller, silly.

But all this does not make this film any less enjoyable. There is more action (bigger, more explosive, and much more energetic) in this film than your average action blockbuster and they are all beautifully shot and the cinematography is wonderfully creative. Some of the battle sequences are surprisingly quiet, such as a simple chess game between Holmes and Moriarty. While you think it would be boring, Guy Ritchie filmed it as if it was a grand battle. The sounds, the atmosphere, and the dialog add another layer of tension and make the chess game scene more atmospheric. As Holmes goes about executing a precise plan in his head, Moriarty joins in with his 190-plus IQ.

Holmes hobby of disguising into several unexpected people is just purely entertaining. If it weren't for Robert Downey Jr., the humor here would have collapsed and become a disaster. Downey’s version of the detective is essentially Sherlock Hams, a swashbuckling hero, none-too-distantly related to Johnny Depp’s Captain Jack Sparrow from the Pirates Of The Caribbean films. Along the way, Holmes has fist-fights with assassins, dances with Watson and experiments with some of the silliest disguises in film history.

Music from Hans Zimmer is monotonously bombastic.It does not leave a lasting impression unlike the last film which blew my mind away. Definitely not one of Hans Zimmer’s best work but since it is Zimmer we are talking about, it is still miles ahead of most of the other movies of the year.

The direction by guy Ritchie is fantastic and there are ample moments where you see his genius that is responsible for creating this hyperkinetic aesthetic and turning the renowned detective into a butt-kicker and there is not one moment where your mind gets diverted.

The dialogues are all brilliant and almost recreate the magic of the first film even though they are not as witty and the sarcasm is absent this time around.

Robert Downey Jr. who was so perfect in his role last time shows little fatigue this time (My impression was that Holmes was meant to be slightly distracted with his mind searching everywhere.). Jude Law is great as the Doctor. Together, they share an excellent chemistry. Jared Harris is good as Prof. Moriarty (a couple of times I felt like he was channeling his father, the outstanding Richard Harris) and delivers all his lines with a cold intensity. Noomi Rapace is adequate. Keilly Reilly as Watson’s wife is beautiful.Holmes brother with government connection and an amusingly arrogant sense of entitlement, plays the role of Mycroft Holmes to perfection.


The first was a much more conventionally good movie. This one takes many risks and fails in some areas, but is still enjoyable. It’s a movie that’s hyperactive and lazy & smart and idiotic at the same time. It increases the thrills and the action, continues the fun, and delivers one of the better sequel going experiences this year. It's operatic action scenes will entertain the audience and it's comedic scenes will add a layer of laughter. With powerful performance from the cast and some beautiful experiments on the dog, this film is not one to be missed in this movie season.


  1. Nice review...good description of Robert Downey Jr.'s performance

  2. Good Review...this is how it should be, covering all the points instead of just praising or criticizing. Completely agree with you.
    One of my top 5 films of the year.

  3. I dunno man...found the movie rather bland. A terribly weak plot is it's undoing. When you think of sherlock holmes, you think of mysteries...but this story ends where it started. All i can say is that the last twenty or so minutes were its saving grace.