In 2009, director Guy Ritchie moved away from sometimes questionable gangster films to release Sherlock Holmes with Robert Downey Jr and Jude Law. The film was a little bit of a revelation so here we are two years later with Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows. Downey Jr and Law are back as Holmes and Watson but this time we are joined by Jared (Mad Men) Harris as Moriarty, Noomi Rapace (Girl With The Dragon Tattoo) as gypsy Madam Simza and Stephen Fry as Mycroft Holmes. Moriarty, a respected professor at Cambridge, has a plan to manipulate the world’s powers for his own ends and so it is up to Holmes and Watson with the assistance of Madam Simza to prevent this happening. Watson has decided to take the plunge and marry his sweetheart Mary (Kelly Reilly) but Holmes has endangered both his friend and his new bride by interfering with his evil nemesis’s plans. A Game of Shadows moves Holmes even further away from Doyle’s source material than the first film but the fact is that it just doesn’t matter. Ritchie, with the help of Downey Jr and Law, has created a pulp adventure tale which is fun and entertaining to watch and beautifully shot and edited. Harris is exceptionally sinister as Moriarty although you wish he had a little more to do in this film and the chemistry between Downey Jr and Law is further developed. Fry as Holmes’ eccentric brother provides a few laughs and acquits himself decently. Paul Anderson as Moriarty’s henchman, crackshot Sebastian Moran, works well on screen. There’s no love interest for Holmes here unlike the first film and Rapace as the gypsy whose brother holds the key is very watchable. It is quite refreshing that the script didn’t throw Holmes and her into bed but uses her as another member of the team. The location shooting in Switzerland and France look spectacular on screen and Ritchie with production designer Sarah Greenwood also synthesise a London that looks fresh and yet familiar at the same time. Ritchie tips his hat to Doyle’s end for Holmes over the Reichenbach Falls but leaves things open for a third instalment, which would be welcome if the quality remained as consistent as this. A Game of Shadows is a superior sequel to its progenitor, pure unadulterated fun with a strong cast and a real sense of adventure to it…


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