Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows has a very similar look and feel to the first movie, which is not surprising since most the players from the first one are involved here. However, the storyline of the movie makes very little reference to the first one, other than the fact that Watson (Jude Law) is set to marry his fiancee (Kelly Reilly) who we saw get engaged during the first movie. I suppose this disconnected feeling is more in keeping with the original Sir Arthur Conan Doyle stories these movies are based on than anything else.
I do feel the first movies story flowed better than this one. This movie seemed to focus more on the comedic interplay between the lead character of Sherlock Holmes (Robert Downey Jr.) and Watson (Law) than the overall plot development or background of the other characters. Noomi Rapace was brought in to replace Rachel McAdams (who is in the movie but only briefly) as the lead female character, and though she does a fine job, you really never feel an emotional investment in the character.
The same can be said as well for the movie’s main villain, Professor James Moriarty (Jared Harris). Other than the fact that he is essentially the evil version of Holmes himself, you never really get a feel for why he is doing all the things he does. Yes to get rich, but beyond that basic need there really isn’t much of a sense as to what drives this character. Still many of the interactions between Holmes and Moriarty during the movie are really the highlights of the film.
Another thing I don’t think this movie did quite as well as the first one was the slow motion scenes. It was a clever effect in the first movie when they would play out a fight scene in slow motion, but in this movie it almost became a distraction at times. Like one scene where they are running through a forest and getting shot at, it was almost hard to follow what was going on.
Though I am no expert on the original Sherlock Holmes stories, from what I remember of the books the movie seems to stay fairly true to them story-wise, however there is a twist at the end which was one of my favorite parts which may throw purists into a tizzy.
Sherlock Holmes: A Game Of Shadows is a great popcorn flick filled with lots of action and comedic moments that are sure to entertain sleuths of all kinds.