Thursday, 12 January 2012

Film Review: "Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows" (2011)

"Rest assured, if you attempt to bring destruction down upon me, I shall do the same to you. My respect for you, Mr. Holmes, is the only reason you are still alive." This is what’s going down in Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows. This British-American action mystery film directed by Guy Ritchie, based on the character of the same name and loosely based on the short story The Final Problem. It is a sequel to the 2009 film Sherlock Holmes. In this film, Sherlock Holmes and his sidekick Dr. Watson join forces to outwit and bring down their fiercest adversary, Professor Moriarty.

The film, then under the running title of Sherlock Holmes 2, was reported to be influenced by Conan Doyle's The Final Problem. It is a short story written by Conan Doyle, first published in Strand Magazine in December 1893, featuring Holmes and Watson as they go up against Moriarty. This story is infamous for killing off Holmes and dubbing Moriarty as "the man who killed Sherlock Holmes." The story was intended to be exactly what its name says. Doyle meant to stop writing about his famous detective after this short story; he felt the Sherlock Holmes stories were distracting him from more serious literary efforts and that "killing" Holmes off was the only way of getting his career back on track. The story can be found in The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes, a collection of Sherlock Holmes short stories.

Robert Downey, Jr. and Jude Law reprise their roles as Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson. As well as Kelly Reilly, Rachel McAdams and Eddie Marsan reprising their roles from the first film. The film also stars Jared Harris, as Professor James Moriarty, Noomi Rapace and Stephen Fry. The cast gave great performances. Although I have not seen the first film, I thought that Downey was again superb, witty, methodical and humorously psychotic as he was in the first movie. As well as for Law, he was still the brave, intelligent, resolute, crack shot, competent medical assistant with a charming flare. Harris is atour de force to reckon with as the "Napoleon of crime", Professor James Moriarty. He is a villain for the ages, delivering one of the best blockbuster villains in recent memory. He fuses Napoleonic charisma with an cold patience, imperious intelligence that seems to decrease everybody’s I.Q. whenever he’s on screen. He was the Ying to Holmes' Yang. Rapace was superb as the mysterious Madame Simza Heron, not playing the damsel in distress. It is surprisingly that she plays a role that links to her heritage. Rapace is of Roma descent (from her father’s side). As for Reilly as Mary Morstan-Watson who has now become the wife of Dr. Watson, McAdams as Irene Adler and Marsan as Inspector Lestrade, they gave terrific performance even though their characters were underused, minimized or were even cut too short.

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows is a rousing adventure. Visually spectacular and suitably action packed, the film is a rock-solid installment in the venerable action franchise, even if it's not as fresh as its predecessor.

Simon says Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows receives:

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