Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows – Good, Bad & Ugly Review

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 68% (Critics) / 55% (Audience)
Directed By: Guy Ritchie
Written By: Kieran & Michele Mulroney
Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Jude Law, Jared Harris, Noomi Rapace, Rachel McAdams
Studio: Warner Brothers

Synopsis: Master detective Sherlock Holmes and his faithful sidekick Dr. Watson return in an adventure that pits them against the greatest evil Holmes has ever faced in Prof. James Moriarity. Can Holmes outwit a villain who is every bit the genius he is?

The Good:
Robert Downey Jr looks to be having the time of his life playing Sherlock Homes and his exuberance is so infectious that it pulls the viewer in. The chemistry he has with Jude Law is great too and the duo of Holmes and Watson are almost enough to carry the weight of the film alone. Luckily they don’t have to as Jared Harris gives a nice icy performance as Moriarty, Holmes’ arch-nemesis and Stephen Fry steals all of his scenes as Holmes’ haughty brother Mycroft.
I enjoyed the way Guy Ritchie directed this film too. Some may say it is too slick but it fits with the high energy nature of the movie. The best part of Ritchie’s direction is the way we are shown Holmes’ thought process especially before engaging in physical combat. This was especially well done when used to show how similar Holmes and Moriarty are right before their final confrontation.

The Bad:
I do think that short shrift was given to the character of Moriarty. I would have liked to have seen more time spent fleshing him out and showing his inner workings (most specifically why he was so evil…it can’t be about money can it?). He seemed like too much of a boogeyman rather than a real flesh and blood character.
I also think the women in this film were done no favors. Rachel McAdams all too brief time onscreen was less than impressive and Noomi Rapace was given barely anything to do.

The Ugly:
As big a fan of Stephen Fry as I may be (and I am a huge Fry fan) I did not need to see so much of him as I did in that extended nude scene.

Final Verdict:
A totally fun time at the movies that seems to fly by even though the film clocks in at over 2 hours. The cast is wonderful, the villain is great, the action scenes totally grab the audience and the chemistry between Downey’s Holmes and Law’s Watson is pitch perfect. SHERLOCK HOLMES: A GAME OF SHADOWS is one of those rare gems…the sequel that outshines the original. B

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