Sherlock Holmes fans beware, you are going to need to drop everything this weekend and head to the movie theaters to watch Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows. I am a fan of full disclosure in reviews, so to begin, it should be known I am a gigantic Sherlock Holmes fan, to the point that I own a pipe even though I don’t smoke. I loved the first movie and am happy to say that I loved the second one as well.
The first thing to mention is something that has been talked about since the first Sherlock Holmes movie and that is Robert Downey Jr.’s performance as Sherlock Holmes. He does such a fantastic job from his personality all the way down to his mannerisms. He especially did a perfect job of capturing the deterioration of his life and health when Watson is away. Speaking of Watson you cannot forgot how perfect of a job Jude Law did at playing Watson. One of the biggest frustrations of the older Sherlock Holmes movies was how they portrayed Watson as a bumbling fool. Watson was a military doctor and an amazing fighter and marksman, and Jude Law captures this so perfectly. He displays the true essence of Watson by showing his adventurous, fun nature while still able to exhibit military precision and responsibility. These things are, of course, no surprise if you have seen the first one but they deserve mention either way.
The story of A Game of Shadows fully delivers on what a sequel of Sherlock Holmes needed to do to be able to keep up with the first. It kept the fun of the first film while bringing a darker, more serious, tone that is necessary for the plot. The movie is based around a series of explosions that are tied to a greater source than the anarchists that are being blamed for it. The true orchestrator of the bombs is such a prestigious figure that Holmes would come off as insane if he told anyone, and yet he is right about who it is. The progression of the movie flows so perfectly that when you find out what is truly going on it is the same moment that they are revealing something. It hints at the final answer from the very begging in ways that you will only notice once you have finished watching the movie. They did a perfect job of realizing that people who watched the first movie will be looking for clues along with Holmes and still did it well enough to trick you throughout.
If you are familiar with Guy Ritchie’s style of film, or have seen the first Sherlock Holmes, you are familiar with his style of filming where he slows down or speeds up the film depending on the shot. He continues that style in A Game of Shadows but has seemed to have perfected it. Not only does it add cool scenes like it did with the boxing scene from the first Sherlock Holmes, but it adds depth to the movie that grips you in a way that a Micheal Bay film never could. Instead of needing giant explosions to make a scene significant, Guy Ritchie is able to make every single death matter and every single hit important. Through doing this you have more attachment to every character, even the small ones, and it causes those big moments to have that much greater of an impact. I truly cannot think of a better way for these movies to be shot and I don’t think there is a better director for the job.
As you can tell from my review I absolutely loved Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, so it was easy for me to give it 5 out of 5 Nerdskulls. I don’t care if you are on house arrest, you need to go out and see this movie this weekend.