Sherlock Holmes is, without a doubt, the world’s most accomplished and intelligent stalker. He has the most superfluous grasp of disguises, wigs and acting that, along with his razor sharp mind and talent for deduction and observation, make him one of the most interesting characters to watch.
Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes takes the classical setting of London, circa 1891, with a slight alternative technological twist. Downey’s portrayal of Holmes is no doubt the most flamboyant, eccentric and psychotic of the lot. He is tragic in one moment then affably insane in the next. He has an onscreen presence that in itself makes a film enjoyable.
Beautiful camera work and lots of slow motion
This film is beautifully made. The camera work is gorgeous, slow motion monologues keep pace with Holmes’ thoughts and observations, paving the way to the final revelations spectacularly in both action and detective work. The film is very much a Hollywood film in the fact that it is very action packed, Holmes being a mad inventor in combat, cleverly taking out his opponents in a variety of over the top ways.
A notably weaker female lead
The first and foremost let down of this film may be the female lead. In the first film, Irene Adler was as much of a character as Holmes or Watson, but in this one I feel that I barely know the female lead by the end. We learn her mannerisms, her motivations and so on, but she falls short of being such a capable woman as Adler. She works as more of a plot device than a player in the titular game of shadows.
A lot broader film
The film spreads itself a lot broader than the first one, spanning a variety of locations instead of just London. The villain of this film and of the Holmes mythos entire, Professor Moriarty is also larger as a character than Lord Blackwood, his reach and ambition spreading much wider. It allowed the story to reach bigger, but ultimately makes it feel a lot less tightly written than the first.
The film thankfully takes away the illusory focus on the occult that the first film had, losing the ceremony and upping the overall action and plot that it now had the space to do.
A great partnership
As always, Jude Law and Robert Downey Jr. are great companions. They have the chemistry of brothers, comrades, partners and an oddly dysfunctional couple down to the line. They maximize the dialogue in ways that most actors cannot.
Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows is a better film as regarding plot and dialogue than the first film. It has a few rough edges, but it ultimately provides an enjoyable and exciting experience.