Guy Ritchie’s much anticipated sequel to Sherlock Holmes (2009), with Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law reprising their roles. The seemingly unconnected death of an Indian cotton tycoon, a Chinese opium trader and an American steel entrepreneur has gained global attention, along with bombings in Strasbourg and Vienna. Sherlock Holmes is the only man who identifies the linking cracks shaking the world, with the depraved Professor Moriarty (Fringe’s Jared Harris) being at the epicentre. The film also brings in Noomi Rapace in her first English speaking role as well as Stephan Fry, playing Sherlock’s older, peculiar brother Mycroft.
Sherlock Holmes returns to the big screen with Guy Ritchie’s new film ‘Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows’, based on the works of Scottish author Arthur Conan Doyle, Holmes first appeared in print in 1887 and since then has appeared in novels, live theatre, television and feature film.
Guy Ritchie moved directly from the first to the second film in the franchise, opting not to work on a different project in-between films, in the Holmes franchise Ritchie has re-established himself as a quality film maker after losing some momentum following his crime films ‘Snatch’ and ’Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels’.
‘A Game of Shadows’ picks up almost immediately following the first film, Ritchie has established a great sense of continuity maintaining the filming style, look and feel that he established previously. His portrayal of late 19th century London and various locations around Europe comprises of a gritty yet beautiful nature which combined with the costumes and sets are effective in establishing the Victorian era of the film with a sinister undertone running underneath.
This film has taken a darker colour palette than that of the original which was a little more balanced throughout. With ‘A Game of Shadows’ we witness long stretches of the film taking place against dark backgrounds, with irregular scenes taking place in lighter surroundings.
The script for this instalment has a high benchmark to measure up to from the first film, and it doesn’t quite match the same level of intrigue or story precision, instead things unfold in a more convoluted manner around the main story which while still entertaining, doesn’t achieve the same level of quality as the original.
Performance wise Robert Downy Jr. once again steps into the role with enthusiasm as both he and Jude Law display a brilliant onscreen chemistry in all of their scenes together, with Stephen Fry making the most of his limited screen time and Noomi Rapace whom doesn’t quite manage to get out from under the shadows of her co-star’s strong on-screen presence.
Where ‘A Game of Shadows’ excels is in Ritchie’s stylistic take on certain actions scenes throughout the film. He delivers something excitingly fresh with otherwise fairly straight forward sequences which help the franchise carve out its own niche.
‘A Game of Shadows’ is well placed as a crowd pleaser and will no doubt find a strong audience over the holiday period, it features a charismatic lead cast, and a story which while convoluted is still entertaining.
I’m giving ‘Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows’ 3 out of 5 stars, it’s released in cinemas around Australia on Thursday 5th January.