Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law once again teams up in Guy Ritchie’s interpretation of the great British detective. Once again we must forget everything, we knew about the classic Holmes: Downey Jr. is rather an intelligent action hero with a “prediction syndrome” day beard and lots of funny one-liners.
It’s nearly 120 years that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle invented the world most famous detective: Sherlock Holmes. His high intellect and pedantic manners were the source of many classic movies, so it was a quite a shock, when we saw first the almost street bum looking Holmes, played by Robert Downey Jr. exchanging fist blows and karate kicks with street thugs. Still, the first movie in 2009 was quite good, and most importantly for Ritchie: it did good at the box offices. So it’s no surprise that Holmes returned last year, with new adventures, world shattering conflicts and a new main enemy more dangerous than ever: Professor Moriarty.
A perfect enemy
Moriarty appeared in only one of Conan Doyle‘s 60 Sherlock Holmes stories: “The Final Problem” but has become a staple of Holmes lore and is frequently employed in the ever-growing non-Conan Doyle library of the detective’s adventures. He is one of the most dangerous enemies of Holmes: a brilliant mathematician whose intelligence matches that of his adversary. So it makes perfect sense, that Ritchie put him in the main role versus Holmes.
Jared Harris was a perfect choice Moriarty (Brad Pritt was rumored to take his role…): while being a perfect English gentleman, he is still extremely evil, and dangerous. He is like a perfect adversary against James Bond but with a lot more screen time.
“Elementary, my…” oh scrap that
Speaking of Bond, the second Holmes movie is even more action packed, then the first one. Holmes battles again with his fists, guns and gets hurt a lot. The action scenes are mostly better made, then in the first movie, with the exception of an idiotic train action scene, where Holmes (in woman’s clothes…) and his trusty friend must fight against a whole army. Fortunately the rest of the action scenes are well made.
Besides the action the story is well written as well, and actually better, than in the first movie. Moriarty’s evil genius shines in the movie, and Holmes must use every one of his brain cells to outwit him.
GG (Good Game)
Game of Shadows is a more polished experience with better story, better main characters, and even a better Downey Jr. and Jude Law as Holmes and Watson. There is even a nice homage to the original novel (the aforementioned “The Final Problem”), although the movie feels more like it was adapted from a comic book, then a novel from 1893. Still, it’s a strong second part, and we cannot wait for the third chapter.