Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows Reviews
Director Guy Ritchie's unique re-envisaging of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's fictional detective Sherlock Holmes has been a point of contestation for critics since its first 2009 instalment.
Cynically criticised for breaking the character down to match the fad of easily digestible style of oddball similar to that of TV's Dr. House from House, Sheldon Copper of Big Bang Theory, Patrick Jane of The Mentalist, and Dr. Cal Lightman from Lie to me. Holmes is more of an eccentric and socially inept character with only a shade of his former brilliance; I however, disagree.
Although this may not be as it ought to follow the original image, American Robert Downey Jr. makes it work, and well. Teamed with a strong and more commanding Dr. Watson (Jude Law); who sadly often is portrayed as the tag along buffoon; the two have a wonderful and compelling chemistry even if the story is left wanting.
After a series of anarchist bombings across Europe, consultant detective Sherlock Holmes (Robert Downey Jr) follows the faint but distinct scent of a plot masterminded by his arch enemy Professor Moriarty (Jarred Harris).
Uncovering his plan to buy up the monopoly on weapons manufacturing companies, the ruthless Moriarty; aided by a group of rebels, plans to incite the already tittering Europe into war and make a profitable fortune.
Utilizing his unique powers of deduction, Holmes begins to unravel Moriarty's nefarious scheme after intercepting a letter left by his lady love Irene Adler (Rachel McAdams) after her murder by the professor.
Following the clues to an underground gentlemen's club, Sherlock and his brother, Mycroft Holmes (Stephen Fry) are in luck as it times perfectly with the hosting of his faithful confidants Dr. Watson's all but forgotten bachelor party.
Whilst Watson and Mycroft indulge in the frivolity, Holmes hunt leads him to the in-house novelty act, a Gypsy fortune teller Sim (Noomi Rapace) who mysteriously knows a lot more than she's willing to tell.
The night inevitably disintegrates into yet another chapter of Holmes' mishaps of violence and mayhem and the poor Watson barely makes it to his wedding on time or the train to his honeymoon in Brighton. Time with is new bride Mary (Kelly Reilly) is disturbed when bandits attack and a worrisomely disguised Holmes comes to their aid.
Holmes throws Mary from the train for her safety, but only so he is free to commandeer Watson for himself. Tracking the fleeing Sim across to the continent, they uncover her connection to Moriarty's plan and employ her help. However, Morirty's appears to always be one step ahead and if successful, will change the course of history. But Holmes can always find a way to exploit a perfect plan, even if it is his own.
With locations under the Eiffel tower, the sensational Paris Opera house and breathtaking wintery Swiss Alps; an element of gravity is added to the 1890's set as they act as a major character in their own right for the series.
The stylized slow-motion, pre-visualization of Holmes' upcoming fisticuffs is also back, aiding in not only seeing the action, but adds to the understanding of exactly just how precisely his mind works. This technique is applied to another scene where a monster automatic weapon known as Hansel demolishes a forest in moments leaving complete destruction in its wake, but sadly it doesn't really fit as the premise is previously implied to be specific to Holmes mind.
The Verdict: A wonderfully light jaunt into a classic cat and mouse tale, Unlike Mr. Holmes try not to look too far into it or you may be disappointed.
Published: The Queanbeyan Age
Date of Publication: 13/01/2012