Sherlock Holmes The Game of Shadows ad reviewed in The Phantom TollboothThe thing to love about the new Sherlock Holmes film is that it's a whole lot like the first installment.

Guy Ritchie uses what worked earlier to make Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows such a fun time at the theater. He didn’t try and reinvent the wheel but instead he just let it roll. From the wit, to the pace to the filming style; all the elements are prevalent here. Love the first one? You will like this one even better. Not a fan of the earlier film? Then don’t expect to find atonement here.

This time around Holmes (Robert Downey Jr.) is trying to pin evidence on Professor James Moriarty (Jared Harris) in conjunction with recent political crimes. Not an easy task since Moriarty could be one of the smartest and most worthy adversaries Holmes has faced. Dr. Watson (Jude Law) gets thrown into the mix even though he simply wants to experience his honey moon and move on to a peaceful lifestyle. This version introduces other notable characters including a Gypsy fortune teller (Noomi Rapace), and Holmes’ brother Mycroft Holmes (Stephen Fry).

This film has loads of swagger. Downey does for Homes what Depp did for Sparrow; only on a more sophisticated and intellectual level. RDJ completely embodies the character and leaves nothing to chance. Holmes is so brilliant that he comes across as annoying and intrusive. Yet the character has enough likeability that you want to see more of him. Law is the perfect balance partner with his delivery of Watson. His intellect is more subdued and refined. This pairing creates one of the best on screen duos in generations. The film needs both equally to be successful. Though Holmes is the blazing fire, Watson is the necessary oxygen to make it all work correctly.

Ritchie again excels in bringing this film to life. The way he breaks a scene down and lets us in on certain details along with the characters adds to the fun and the magic. His use of action sequences, whether fist fights or massive explosions, keeps the energy high. Sometimes the edits and cuts are so fast your eyes nearly fall out of their sockets, but it is this sort of film style that elevates the Holmes series to more than just a detective thriller.

The writing is top notch too. There is always the fear that sequels will rely simply on the popularity of the characters and allow the story to suffer. Not so here. This one is as intricately weaved if not more so than the first. A blend of political intrigue, assassinations, and bombings keep you riveted to the plot line throughout. The glue that holds it all together though is the eccentric Holmes and his elementary brand of deductive reasoning.

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows is rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, and some drug material. The language is incredibly mild with not a hint of sexual innuendo or interaction.  There is one very funny implied nude bit with Holmes’ very out of shape brother but it is totally lacking in offense. The main issue is the violence. There are lots of fist fights and gun play throughout. I gave the first film 5 out of 5 and would be amiss to give this one any less. Again you can gage your appreciation of this production on how well you enjoyed the first one. And I for one thought it a jolly good time.


Review copyright 2011 Mungleshow Productions. Used by Permission.