From the various reviews on the first film it had both it’s fans and it’s haters. The sequel is bigger and bolder but unlikely to claim back those haters to the franchise, even with Holmes’ arch nemesis, Professor Moriarty, in the other corner. Moriarty is indeed portrayed as Holmes’ equal in terms of intellect, and there are times when you think it’s game over for our super sleuth. He’s certainly seen as meeting his match, just as the Dark Knight does with the Joker.
Guy Ritchie continues to stylize the look and action of the film very uniquely. There are a few breathtaking set pieces including the escape through the Bastogne-esque forest and the train battle. Combined with his gritty visuals and stylish slow motion (echoing 300 in certain parts) plus the ever scheming detective’s haymakers, Sherlock Holmes sets itself apart from the other blockbusters.
The buddy movie relationship between Robert Downey Jr and Jude Law was one of the highlighting elements that made the first film witty and quite charming. I’m not sure if it’s because it’s more of the same, or less of if, that A Game of Shadows falls just short of delivering. Stephen Fry provides comic relief in a perfectly cast role as Holmes’ brother. Noomi Rapace is a welcome addition to the cast but her character has no real emotional connection to two leads. Which is a shame given her landmark performance in the Swedish adaptations of Stieg Laarson’s Millennium trilogy.
All in all, a decent and enjoyable follow up to 2009’s debut. I’ll be sure to check it out again once the blu-ray is released.