Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows
Amazing performance by Downey Jr. and Harris, this film is a worthy sequel.
Another sequel opening this month was the “adaptation” of timeless creation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. And although incredible amount of movies, TV series, animations – you name it – has been done, this one is undoubtedly the most ambitious, frivolous, and mindblowing reincarnation of famous detective.
Unlike the first movie, “Game of Shadows” tries not be compliant with the source anymore. Instead it tries to look like its predecessor, so that viewers DON’T compare it to the books. And that actually gives much more perspective – first of all, there’s nothing to compare, almost everything is different. Secondly, it gives director much more control in terms of “actionalazing” the topic, that in reality doesn’t have much action in it.
The story follows Holmes (Robert Downey Jr.) who is in pursuit of criminal anarchist super-mind Professor Moriarty (Jared Harris). His long-time accomplice Dr. Watson (Jude Law) is missing on action tho – he is trying to get happily married. Although this is not what Holmes wants, but he has to go with it. Unfortunately, Moriarty is not the person who possesses high emotions for romance, so Watson and his newlywed wife get involved in his complicated plot to throw Holmes away from his path. Being such a perfect opponent to Holmes, soon this game of shadows turns into a complicated chess game.
Robert Downey Jr. creates the same crazy persona of Holmes as in previous movie. Essentially its the same Holmes described on the pages of the book – insane, smart, strong, and extraordinary. He likes disguises. He likes games. He likes worthy opponents. He likes chaotic life he lives in, where he finds peace in every single element. Needless to say that he tries to deny the whole notion of wedding of his dearest companion Watson. And his emotions on the wedding day are genuine. I was thinking who would have played a better Holmes, in the given setup. Maybe Johnny Depp. Or maybe Brad Pitt. But Downey Jr. shows the exact amount of quirkiness needed by the character. Not less, not more.
I really enjoyed the supporting cast this time, more than the previous movie. Dr.Watson played by Jude Law looks more believable than the first part. The main villain – Moriarty is portrayed by Jared Harris and he, I should say, does his job outstandingly. His Moriarty is an evil genius and his whole presence in the scene gives exact message “do not even attempt to outsmart me”. I was really surprised of inclusion of Stephen Fry as Mycroft – the older brother of Sherlock. He adds some good laughs to the film.
This I can’t say about compulsory female characters in the movie. I hated Irene Adler (Rachel McAdams) in the first one, and was kind of relieved she was not included to the plot of this one. Mrs.Watson (Kelly Reilly) looks better this time and she performs her part perfectly. Gypsy fortune teller/french anarchist Madam Simza Heron (played by Noomi Rapace – the original Girl with Dragon Tattoo) was an interesting character, played really well, but her whole point in the movie was kind of ambiguous and rather felt a little out of place.
This is the biggest production of Guy Ritchie so far and he utilizes all the powers he has in his hands to show all the stuff he wanted to show before. There are a lot of CGI in the process, let it be green screen matte paintings of London, Paris or Switzerland, or the incredible shootout in the forest. Fight sequences are craftily choreographed. Fast editing and inclusion of thought process of Holmes is an interesting touch. Watch out for Little Hansel, this small sequence includes all the directorial trademarks by Guy Ritchie.
I enjoyed the movie. Its nothing compare to the much beloved Soviet version, but it has its own uniqueness that provides an interesting approach to the whole Holmes persona. I give it 8/10.