Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars
It is 1891. At his typewriter, Dr. James Watson (Law) is completing his memoirs. He has come to the chapter concerning his wedding and perhaps he and Sherlock Holmes’(Downey) greatest adventure. “It was 1878, “ he begins.
Told in director Guy Ritchie’s inimitable style, “Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows” is a worthy follow up to 2009’s initial “Holmes” film. The familiar faces are back but it’s a new face that makes the film so enjoyably fun…the face of Holmes greatest adversary, Professor James Moriarty (Harris). As evil to the core as Holmes is brilliant, Moriarty has devised a way to not only begin a major military conflict but also make a fortune off of it. With the soon to be newlywed Watson contemplating the end of his work with Holmes, our private investigator instills the assistance of his older brother, Mycroft (the always dependable Stephen Fry) As Watson heads to Brighton with his new bride, Holmes gains the confidence of a gypsy woman named Simza (Noomi Rapace, who starred as the original “Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”). But is the new team clever enough to match wits with Moriarty’s genius?
The formula for a good adventure film is two-fold. First, you need likeable characters. And second, you need adventure. Both ingredients are featured here in spades. Refining the chemistry they began building in the first film, Downey and Law are more like an old married couple then professional partners. If I were to liken them to another film duo, I would call them the Riggs and Murtaugh of the 19th century. Their comfort with each other makes them seem like old friends to the audience. Fry, who hosts Great Britain’s annual BAFTA awards each year (I would love to see him do the Academy Awards) is great comic relief. In her first English language film, Rapace makes a fine debut. And as Professor Moriarty, “Mad Men” co-star Harris proves himself a most worthy addition to the Holmes canon. The visual effects are outstanding while the gadgets Holmes comes up with would rival anything “Q” could come up with for James Bond.