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Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (2011)


Average Rating: 6/10
Reviews Counted: 203
Fresh: 121
Rotten: 82

Critics Consensus: Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows is a good yarn thanks to its well-matched leading men but overall stumbles duplicating the well-oiled thrills of the original.

Average Rating: 5.4/10
Reviews Counted: 43
Fresh: 16
Rotten: 27

Critics Consensus: Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows is a good yarn thanks to its well-matched leading men but overall stumbles duplicating the well-oiled thrills of the original.


Average Rating: 3.9/5
User Ratings: 165,121


Movie Info

Sherlock Holmes (Robert Downey Jr.) has always been the smartest man in the room...until now. There is a new criminal mastermind at large-Professor Moriarty (Jared Harris)-and not only is he Holmes' intellectual equal, but his capacity for evil, coupled with a complete lack of conscience, may actually give him an advantage over the renowned detective. When the Crown Prince of Austria is found dead, the evidence, as construed by Inspector Lestrade (Eddie Marsan), points to suicide. But Sherlock … More

PG-13 (for intense sequences of violence and action, and some drug material)
Mystery & Suspense , Action & Adventure
Directed By:
Written By:
Kieran Mulroney , Michele Mulroney
In Theaters:
Jun 12, 2012
Box Office:
Warner Bros. Pictures - Official Site


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Critic Reviews for Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows

All Critics (203) | Top Critics (43) | Fresh (121) | Rotten (82) | DVD (12)

It's complete trash and makes a mockery of Holmes's vaunted deductive reasoning.

Full Review… | January 16, 2012
New Yorker
Top Critic

Downey's career is something of a game of shadows, but it's one still worth playing, for now.

Full Review… | December 16, 2011
Detroit News
Top Critic

Downey and Law remain this presumptive franchise's draw.

Full Review… | December 16, 2011
Denver Post
Top Critic

What this film really celebrates is crunch-and-thud video-game-style action, not especially well choreographed by director Guy Ritchie.

Full Review… | December 16, 2011
Christian Science Monitor
Top Critic

It doesn't take a master of deduction to see that Ritchie has decided to play it too safe with this sequel.

Full Review… | December 16, 2011
Toronto Star
Top Critic

In an act of criminal negligence, Ritchie has wasted Robert Downey Jr. in a sequel that eliminates smarts in favor of relentless headbanging.

Full Review… | December 16, 2011
Rolling Stone
Top Critic

The second installment in the series, churns like a lump of moldy dough sitting in the pit of your stomach, trying ever so hard to be digested.

Full Review… | September 25, 2013

A welcome return for the World's Greatest Detective Other Than Batman, and a sequel that impressively conspires to be more challenging than its predecessor.

Full Review… | September 25, 2012

As it stands, with its engrossing-yet-obscured-by-over-the-top-CGI plot, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows is little more than elementary, my dear moviegoer.

Full Review… | September 15, 2012
We Got This Covered

The truth about this Game of Shadows and its predecessor is that neither has a story worthy of its hero. The story is not only often improbable, it is often simply impossible to follow.

Full Review… | June 26, 2012

The mystery and fun of the first feature is replaced with a bland miscast villain and slam-bang action nonsense, none of which is very impressive.

Full Review… | June 15, 2012

The overall effect is of sort of Steam Punk Toulouse Lautrec portrait, intricately designed, occasionally visually dazzling, and well-acted throughout.

Full Review… | May 20, 2012
What Culture

The bromance nearly boils over in this messy but satisfying sequel to the 2009 feature.

Full Review… | May 16, 2012
Big Hollywood

I actually enjoyed A Game of Shadows more than the original. This will be entertaining for those of you who enjoyed the original and others who just will watch RDJ in anything.

Full Review… | May 8, 2012
2UE That Movie Show

If only they'd spent the cash on a bad guy with stature, instead of taking that phrase, "the banality of evil," so literally. Playing this Game might have been even more fun.

Full Review… | March 23, 2012
McClatchy-Tribune News Service

If this film is an indicator of the quality of films in 2012 I'll be praying that the Mayans were right about this little blue planet going boom.

Full Review… | March 8, 2012
The Popcorn Junkie

The effort to reproduce the spontaneity of the previous film's success imbues A Game of Shadows with a weary tone of overexertion.

Full Review… | January 15, 2012
Projection Booth

Dear Guy Ritchie: My name is Robin Hood. I need to be brought into today's world of short attention spans, nonreading, and lovable, cantankerous heroes. If you can turn Sherlock into a glib, pompous ass, imagine what you can do for me.

Full Review… | January 14, 2012

Se volta a representar uma experiência divertida e cheia de energia, desaponta também por jamais oferecer algo de novo ou realmente interessante.

Full Review… | January 13, 2012
Cinema em Cena

The whole movie, chock full of queer undertone, is one long sly smile-and deliciously so.

Full Review… | January 13, 2012
Knight at the Movies

Guy Ritchie digs deep into his trusted bag of tricks and turns his patented stylised action filmmaking up to maximum wattage. Fortunately, Ritchie still manages to create an entertaining film in spite of his excessive ways.

Full Review… | January 12, 2012
Matt's Movie Reviews

Sherlock Holmes - A Game of Shadows does have one trick up its sleeve that makes it a worthy companion to its predecessor: the upgrading of the homo-erotic subtext to clear-as-day text.

Full Review… | January 11, 2012

Fans of the first film will find plenty to still enjoy especially the lightening pace, banter and camaraderie of Downey Jr. and Law...despite an over-reliance on slow-mo.

Full Review… | January 9, 2012
Spectrum (St. George, Utah)

The broader strokes of Moriarty's plan become evident a little too easily, dropping like a grand piano rather than a penny. But the finer machinations make the story a delight.

Full Review… | January 9, 2012
The Mercury

It gives a cursory nod to intellect, a quality most other Hollywood blockbusters are all too willing to ignore.

Full Review… | January 8, 2012

Audience Reviews for Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows


On the eve of his wedding day, Doctor Watson is persuaded by his erstwhile partner in crime to go head to head with arch nemesis Professor Moriarty in a game of international cat and mouse. The Victorian bromance continues as the bickering detectives cut a swathe across Europe in pursuit of the nefarious Moriarty leaving a trail of computer generated carnage in their wake. Subtlety certainly takes a back seat as Game Of Shadows follows the usual blockbuster sequel formula of dumber and louder=better, with the homo-eroticism of the first film in particular ramped up to Carry On proportions. Unlike the Indiana Jones vibe of the previous film, the plot here is very much a James Bond-style tale of espionage full of tommy guns, explosions, disguises and international intrigue and it's all very episodic. The dialogue of double act Downey and Law is not as sparky or fresh this time around, but they are still very likeable and the breathless pace makes for an enjoyable romp that consistently entertains. As ever it is not the measure of the original, but as a piece of popular entertainment in its own right it's a lot of fun.

xGary Xx

Super Reviewer


Having heard many a negative review of this film I was pleasantly surprised and entertained by this 2nd offering of Downey Jr. as Conan Doyle's famous detective.

It was established in the first film that Downey's Holmes is much more the action figure than the text intended, but if you can forgive that, then this film, as the first, is solid and entertaining. Director Guy Ritchie as usual does tend to teeter into excess in his style over substance approach (he doesn't really give you the chance to be fully absorbed in the film... ie. Forgetting that you are watching a film - mainly due to his overuse of camera techniques; in particular the stop action/slow mo/fast mo that dates back to the Matrix films - especially in a overly long "escape" scene with the heroes running through the woods as bullets fly around them). It is this scene and a couple of others that could have used a bit of judicious editing to prevent the film from bogging down - but that being said, the chess match (real and metaphorical) between Holmes and arch villain Moriarty (a wonderful turn by Richard Harris' son Jared) certainly makes for compelling viewing.

Ritchie also uses an interesting technique to let you "inside" Holmes' brain. Showing us how and why he will execute certain maneuvers and assessing their potential - and then showing us the action and the result in real time. This could be off-putting to some, but I found it a stroke of brilliance; especially at the film's climax when Holmes' "thoughts" are interrupted by Moriarty. A kind of "well, if you do this, then I'll do that" bit of sophistry akin to thinking 3 moves ahead on a chess board.

This film, as was the case with its predecessor, has a fair amount of humor (the scene with Holmes aboard a pony was laugh out loud funny), and really - it's this insertion of humor that tells you that you are watching "entertainment" - that Ritchie knew going in that this was not something to be treated in utmost seriousness.

There are a few other flaws that I tend to overlook - for example Jude Law's Watson overemphasizes his war wound limp at film's beginning... which of course totally disappears when the script needs him to transform into an action hero. There is also the rather hackneyed sentiments about Watson's wedding and how that will allegedly effect Holmes - you kind of role your eyes and move on to the meat of the matter - the sublime cat and mouse game between Holmes and Moriarty - ignore the rest and you will be totally entertained.

paul sandberg

Super Reviewer


Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson are back! And this time, things get serious. Along with a gypsy, these two find themselves involved in a plot that could lead to a world war as the result of the death of the crown prince of Austria. Though this film has an original story, it is influenced by some of the source material, especially with the fact that the chief antagonist is none other than Holmes's arch nemesis Professor Moriarty.

In a lot of ways, this really isn't all t hat different from the 2009 film. We get some of the same cast, some filmmakers, and the some kind of hyper-realistic style Guy Ritchie is known for. One of the best examples of the sweet slow-mo is the shooting in the woods. That scene is great.

Jared Harris is a nice addition as Moriarty, though I suspect that the literary version is better. Still though, he's not bad. I also liked Stephen Fry as Sherlock's brother, and Noomi Rapace as the gypsy- a role she pretty much seems a natural fit for.

Law and Downey Jr. continue to have great chemistry together, and the film blends the action and humor fairly well. It's not a masterpiece by any means, but it's nevertheless a fun way to pass a couple of hours.

Chris Weber

Super Reviewer


I'm glad that I'm not the only one who thinks that this second movie didn't as good as the first one.. From the performance, Robert Downey Jr. has did it again with his character as Sherlock Holmes, even Dr. John Watson's performance by Jude Law really got a lot of improvement too.. But their performance didn't help a lot as the story of this movie got the audiences a little confusing even though I know it's quite brilliant to make some twist like that.. The other disappointment is Noomi Rapace's performance which is for me just like a sweetener because of the death of Irene Adler, but she's nowhere for replacing Irene Adler.. Overall, for me this sequel is a little disappointment but I must appreciate Guy Ritchie's work since he did his best in here so this rating is the best that I can give to this movie..

Sanjaya 丘耀文

Super Reviewer

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows Quotes

Sherlock Holmes:
It's so overt, it's covert
– Submitted by Jacquelyn D (16 months ago)
Professor James Moriarty:
Your clock is ticking.
– Submitted by Typhon Q (16 months ago)
Sherlock Holmes:
It's so's covert.
– Submitted by Nick M (20 months ago)
Madam Simza Heron:
A wagon is too slow. Can't you ride?
Dr. John Watson:
It's not that he can't ride. How is it that you put it, Holmes?
Sherlock Holmes:
[horses] They're dangerous at both ends and crafty in the middle. Why would I want anything with a mind of its own bobbing about between my legs?
– Submitted by Frances H (21 months ago)
Professor James Moriarty:
Let's not waste anymore of one another's time. We both know how this ends.
– Submitted by Dave M (2 years ago)
Sherlock Holmes:
Lie down with me, Watson.
Dr. John Watson:
Sherlock Holmes:
I insist.
Dr. John Watson:
You... What are we doing down here?
Sherlock Holmes:
We are waiting. I am smoking.
– Submitted by Typhon Q (2 years ago)

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