Review: Sherlock Holmes A Game of Shadows

Sherlock Holmes was a successful movie that combined witty dialogue with some superb fighting sequences. It also benefited from having the great actor that is Robert Downey Jr, and his on-screen chemistry with co-stars Jude Law and Rachel McAdams was palpable. Mark Strong provided the movie an adequate foe for Holmes and Watson to face off with. While Strong's character was a bit weak and undeveloped, his actual ability as an actor made the character noteworthy. A Game of Shadows continues the great on-screen chemistry between Downey and Law and the other things that the original did well with. Guy Ritchie still does a good job of directing the action, but the film's pacing is a bit slower. It would have benefited from being 20-30 minutes shorter. However, the villain is still under developed and this time the actor playing the part is much weaker. Jared Harris plays Professor James Moriarty and does not impress. Frequently due to his lack of ability to pull off a good villain, I found myself checking the time to often.

The plot follows Holmes as he and Watson are hot on the trails of the most cunning adversary, Moriarty. Holmes is trying to link murders to him and is in pursuit of stopping an assassination he had planned on another person. Holmes runs into his old flame Irene from the first film and it is found out that she is working with Moriarty. The mark is still assassinated, and Moriarty deeps Irene irrelevant and poisons her. I figured due to Holmes feelings for Irene that he would be more distraught over the loss and that it would effect his decision making in his attempts to take down Moriarty. Instead, all of this emotional drama is thrown to the wayside for bigger action sequences. Holmes focuses all of his attention on bringing down Moriarty but you never get a sense of loss from him minus one scene but after that one scene, it is never brought back up again.

Holmes and Watson come across another one of Moriarty's targets at Watson's stag party, seeing how he is getting married to his girlfriend from the first movie. The target is a gypsy who is the younger sister of a man that Moriarty deems important. Moriarty believes that her brother told her vital information and sees her as a loose end that needs to be eradicated. After saving her, she is seemingly forgotten and disappears until later in the movie. Holmes goes to visit Moriarty at his school and it essentially becomes a pissing contest between the two. They both continuously try to get a one up on each other, the scene was written beautifully but it didn't resonate with me simply because Jared Harris isn't on the acting level of Robert Downey. We were constantly being reminded throughout the movie that Moriarty is a great foe for Holmes, but however whenever he was on screen I couldn't take him seriously or be afraid of him.

After Holmes' pissing contest with Moriarty, he sought out to bring down Moriarty but he also knew the Moriarty would go after his best friend Watson. Holmes is outsmarted a few times by Moriarty throughout the film and the outcome of his investigation looks bleak until he pulls one brilliant trick out from his sleeve to best Moriarty. It leads to another great scene at the climax of the film as the two enemies sit down to play a game of chess. The reasons are also explained in the scene as to why Moriarty has resorted to such devious crimes, which in my opinion could have been a little bit better.

3.5 stars out of 5
3.5 stars out of 5

Closing Comments

A Game of Shadows is an entertaining movie for its excellent action sequences, witty dialogue and the on-screen chemistry between Downey and Law. Downey does an incredible job once again in the title role, and Law does a great job as the sidekick once again. The action sequences are impressive, with the standout coming closer to the end as we see our heroes running through a forest dodging bullets and mortar strikes. The slow-mo action sequences to me are beginning to get to the point of being over done, and there are quite a few of them in this film. Guy Ritchie does a good job of directing this film but the pacing could have been a little better. The original Girl With a Dragoon Tattoo star, Noomi Rapace, also does a good job in her first role in an American film. Moriarty for all intensive purposes is a decent villain as he provides everything that you would want from a foe to face off with one of the smartest men in cinematic history, but Harris is in over his head. There is a reason why we have never seen Harris in a role outside of Adam Sandler movies or other comedy roles.

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Comments 17 comments

Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 5 years ago from Upstate New York

If the movie is anything like the trailers, it's a MUST-SEE-NOW!


Nickalooch profile image

Nickalooch 5 years ago from Columbia, MD Author

It's entertaining for sure but I think it could have been better. Anything with Robert Downey is automatically worthwhile to see in my opinion


VeronicaFarkas profile image

VeronicaFarkas 5 years ago from Ohio, USA

I just saw this last night. The ending was fantastic.

I am not sold on Holmes not mourning the loss of Irene, and do not understand why he did so in only one scene. I wonder if that'll be brought up more in the next one? Err... if there is a next one. ;)

Great review!


Nickalooch profile image

Nickalooch 5 years ago from Columbia, MD Author

Yeah i loved the standoff between Moriarty and Holmes but I just feel like they skipped over a lot. If they delved more into Holmes and his loss of Irene, I feel like the film could have been much better. Moriarty could have been played by a better actor to. I read something about how Brad Pitt wanted the role


VeronicaFarkas profile image

VeronicaFarkas 5 years ago from Ohio, USA

Brad Pitt would've been PERFECT as Moriarty!! That would've been very interesting.


Nickalooch profile image

Nickalooch 5 years ago from Columbia, MD Author

So i think we both can agree, the movie would have been 10x better with him as the villain. If only.


Stevennix2001 profile image

Stevennix2001 5 years ago

Hmm..very sad to hear that moriarty isn't portrayed as well as he should be on screen. That's rather sad, but I still plan on seeing this movie anyway, since I liked the first one a lot. It's kind of a shame the rumor about Daniel Day Lewis being attached to the Moriarty role didn't come into fruition, as he makes an excellent villain in movie roles; thus he'd be perfect for Moriarty. Of course, this is also why I want to see Daniel Day Lewis cast as Lex Luthor (assuming he's even in the new superman reboot or possible sequels to it). As I can't help but think whenever I watch "There Will Be Blood", I ALWAYS say to myself...now...THAT is how Lex Luthor should be played in a film. lol. Anyway, great hub Nick, as you never cease to amaze me. By the way, did you know that you can submit your links to imdb, as part of their external reviews for professional critics like Roger Ebert and such?

I just found out about it a few days ago, and started submitting quite a few of my links to that site, so I can hopefully get some more traffic. I don't know if you know about it as well, but I just thought I'd give you a heads up in case you didn't.


Nickalooch profile image

Nickalooch 5 years ago from Columbia, MD Author

Thanks for the heads up. I appreciate it, Daniel Day Lewis is a hell of an actor I agree. I never thought of him as Luthor though lol. I think he will be great as Abraham Lincoln for Spielberg's flick. I heard rumblings of Chris Meloni possibly being Luthor for the new reboot.


Nickalooch profile image

Nickalooch 5 years ago from Columbia, MD Author

How do you submit them on IMDB though? You just leave a link?


Stevennix2001 profile image

Stevennix2001 5 years ago

Oh it's easy. You just have to register to become a member on that site, then once your a member, you can go up to any movie main page like say "Sherlock Holmes." You know how to get to the external links there to check out what guys like roger ebert, peter travers and etc said about a movie? Well, at the bottom of the page there's an edit option you can click, then you can submit your hubpage link to it. supposedly according to imdb, it takes several weeks to get approved, but it's easy though.

I just barely found out about it, when I saw smpossello's teenage mutant ninja turtles III review linked on there, so that's how I found out.


Stevennix2001 profile image

Stevennix2001 5 years ago

Plus, it's free too, so you don't have to worry about that.


Nickalooch profile image

Nickalooch 5 years ago from Columbia, MD Author

I am about to check it out. My laptop is falling apart so seeing things is the bigger issue lol


Stevennix2001 profile image

Stevennix2001 5 years ago

lol. okay. well let me know if you have any trouble setting it up. It's kind of amazing, as I only wish I would've found out about it sooner.


Nickalooch profile image

Nickalooch 5 years ago from Columbia, MD Author

again, I appreciate it. Just submitted this one to IMDB


Nickalooch profile image

Nickalooch 5 years ago from Columbia, MD Author

I kind of feel like i should submit all of my reviews, but I dont know if I am feeling that pro-active right now lol. I can't imagine how long it would take you to submit all of your reviews lol


Stevennix2001 profile image

Stevennix2001 5 years ago

lol. Yeah, I barely just submitted like 20 of them so far, and I'm not even done yet. lol. Another reason why I said earlier, I wish I had known you could do that sooner, as I would've been submitting my links to them right from the start. lol.


Nightmarephantom profile image

Nightmarephantom 5 years ago from Columbia, MD

It sounds like it's going to be good, but not as good as it was hyped to be. Especially with the first movie basically ending on a cliffhanger.

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