‘Sherlock Homes: A Game of Shadows’

“Sherlock Holmes:  A Game of Shadows”, in true sequel style, ramps up all the elements of the first movie to make a bigger and better movie. The main reason I liked this one is that it took all of my favorite things from the first one and solved a few problems I had with it. One of the movie’s main problem is that, in an attempt to heighten the stakes, it tends to stretch the bounds of believability even for an action/adventure movie.

I felt that this movie really took a lot of the things I liked about the first movie and expanded them. For example, the first movie introduced an innovative style of action where Holmes would think through all of his fighting techniques, and then proceed to use his intellect to defeat his enemies in hand-to-hand combat. In the sequel, we get a lot more of these kinds of scenes along with a few twists on them that you don’t see coming.

Now although I enjoyed the film, it is certainly not without its faults. None of these faults ever spoiled the film for me, but it might for others. First of all, there is a surprising lack of actual mystery in this movie. This movie has more to do with the battle of wits between Holmes and Moriarty. That might make it disappointing to some who were expecting a grand mystery, but it never ruined the film for me.

Second, as I said before, in order to heighten the stakes and make the scale of the movie bigger, everything about this movie has been pushed to sillier places. In one scene, Holmes appears in drag, and some of the circumstances really begin to challenge the suspension of disbelief. Also, a lot more emphasis has been put on the action scenes.

You don’t necessarily have to have seen the first movie in order to see this one, but it does provide context for the relationship of the characters. If you enjoyed the innovative action sequences, the Holmes-Watson relationship and the incredibly entertaining performance by Robert Downy Jr. in the first movie, then you will definitely like this one. However, if you were hoping for another overarching investigation to drive the main plot, didn’t appreciate the action style of the first movie, or you do not like having to stretch your imagination to allow a film to maintain its plausibility, you probably will not enjoy this one.

In the end, I would recommend seeing this film, as it continues the interesting concept of Sherlock Holmes introduced in its 2009 predecessor, while adding some new elements to keep things exciting.