Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows

Film, Action and adventure
2 out of 5 stars
Robert Downey Jr. in Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows
Robert Downey Jr. in Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows

Time Out says

2 out of 5 stars
When Guy Ritchie’s witty, enjoyable reboot of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s iconic detective stories busted blocks back in 2009, a follow-up was unavoidable. Cynics would argue that a visit from that scourge of movie sequels, the law of diminishing returns, was equally inevitable – but that doesn’t stop this overlong romp from being a disappointment.

We find Holmes (Robert Downey Jr) already hot on the trail of his latest nemesis, ‘Napoleon of crime’, James Moriarty (Jared Harris). When the mad professor schemes to have Holmes’s on-off squeeze murdered, our hero spirals into depression – until the return of his trusty sidekick Watson (Jude Law) shakes him out of his torpor and sets him back on the warpath, following a trail of destruction that will lead to Paris, Germany and – inevitably – Switzerland’s Reichenbach Falls.

The best comparison to draw here is with the ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ sequels: the cast and crew remain unchanged, but a key ingredient is lacking. Perhaps it’s a sense of spontaneity: where the first film seemed genuinely sprightly and off-the-cuff, the outcome of every thunderous, whizz-bang, CG-fuelled action scene in the sequel feels – that word again – inevitable. Downey Jr even seems to be attempting a kind of knock-off Jack Sparrow, slapping on the eyeliner and chucking in a few inappropriate nod-wink asides.

Salvation arrives in the form of Stephen Fry as Holmes’s brother, Mycroft, and while the role of an upper-crust homosexual with a schoolmasterly demeanour and encyclopaedic intellect isn’t exactly a stretch for the nation’s favourite quizmaster, it’s a welcome distraction from the increasingly stale banter of the two leads. The result is a fitfully amusing but largely unsurprising and uninvolving action-movie-by-numbers: elementary, and not in a good way.

By: Tom Huddleston



Release details

Release date:
Friday December 16 2011
129 mins

Cast and crew

Guy Ritchie
Michele Mulroney, Kieran Mulroney
Robert Downey Jr
Jared Harris
Jude Law
Rachel McAdams
Stephen Fry
Noomi Rapace
You may also like