Sunday, January 8, 2012

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (2011)

Last month, the latest installment in director Guy Ritchie's franchise based upon the classic Sir Arthur Conan Doyle character made its debut.

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows once again stars Robert Downey Jr. in the title role, Jude Law (as Dr. John Watson), Rachel McAdams (as Irene Adler), and Kelly Reilly (as Mary, fiancee to Watson). Added to the cast this time are Jared Harris (as Professor Moriarty), Noomi Rapace (as the gypsy Simza) and Stephen Fry (as Mycroft Holmes).

As fans of the 2009 film, my wife, teenaged son and I were all eager to see this sequel. We were looking for another round of stylized action, witty dialogue, engaging plot twists and wonderful period sets and costumes. On all accounts, the film delivered.

I certainly will not go into too much detail of the plot, so as to avoid spoiling the film for those that still plan to see it. I can tell you that Holmes goes head-to-head with his most challenging opponent Moriarity in a mystery whose outcome has international implications. This leads to a lot of globe trotting for the heroes.

While I enjoyed the grand level of action, some of which I am sure will require repeated viewings to catch all the various details and the layerings, the best parts for me involved the interplay between characters.

I enjoyed the scenes between Holmes and Watson, Holmes and Moriarty, Holmes and Simza - okay, Robert Downey Jr. works well with everyone here. His portrayal of Holmes dances along the line of sanity and brillance perfectly. In a lot of ways, this character at times seems to mirror Downey's own personality well, making this sheer genius in casting. While this might not be the classic portrayal of Holmes, I'm more than willing to go with it in order to create entertaining cinema.

Another scene that just had my wife and I laughing was between Mycroft and Mary (you'll know which one I am referring to when you see the film). Stephen Fry plays Holmes' elder brother in perfect concert with Downey's portrayal of the Baker Street detective. If there is a third film in the series (and given the box office pull so far, I have little concern that things won't continue for at least one more), I do hope Fry has a role in that one as well.

If you're looking for a film that gives a good mix of action, mystery, and humor, I would suggest to you Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows. But this isn't a mindless blockbuster; you do need to pay attention. Like any good mystery, the pieces and clues are there through out - it is just a matter of time as to how they'll resurface later on.

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