“Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows” was directed by Guy Ritchie and is the sequel to 2009’s “Sherlock Holmes” which was also directed by Ritchie. The film sees Robert Downey Jr., Jude Law, Kelly Riley and Rachel McAdams return to their respected roles. The new cast include Jarred Harris, Noomi Price, Stephen Fry and Paul Anderson. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote and created the characters and storylines for “Sherlock Holmes” and although the film has its own storyline it does draw inspiration from Doyle’s short stories, 1893’s “The Final Problem” & 1903’s “The Adventure of the Empty House”.
In 1891, Sherlock Holmes (Downey) prevents an assassination attempt on Dr. Hoffmanstahl, a plastic surgeon. Despite Holmes stopping a bomb, Hoffmanstahl is still killed outside of the exact hall that the bomb was supposed to blow. Irene Alder (McAdams) returns to her employer, Professor James Moriarty (Harris), to inform him of the situation however, seeing Irene’s feelings for Holmes get in the way her job, Moriarty poisons and kills her. Back at Holmes’ office, his longtime friend and partner, Dr. John Watson (Law) and his soon to be wife, Mary (Riley) stop by and check on Holmes’ progress. Holmes has on Moriarty trails after several killings and bombings have been theoretically linked to the famous doctor and professor. Holmes and Watson are out with Holmes’ brother, Mycroft (Fry) for Watson’s bachelor party. While there, Holmes meets a Roma fortune teller, Sizma (Price). Before she died, Holmes had taken a letter from Irene that linked Moriarty to Sizma’s brother Rene. Before she can explain herself, Sizma and Holmes are attacked by another assassin. Holmes fights him off while Sizma escapes. After Watson’s and Mary’s wedding, Holmes officially meets Professor Moriarty at his office. A battle of whits ensues but Holmes is stopped dead in his tracks when Moriarty hands him Irene’s handkerchief covered in her own blood. Moriarty then warns Holmes to stay out of his business or else. Moriarty then targets Dr. Watson and his new wife, Holmes narrowly saves them. Now, Holmes and Watson team up once again and with the help of Sizma, they must stop Moriarty from causing war between France and Germany on a catastrophic level.
After the surprising success of the first film, the anticipation for sequel began and this film didn’t disappoint. This was a great film. While it does follow more of an action movie formula rather than keep the mystery elements of the first film, it does have the same entertainment values. Robert Downey Jr. once again nails it as Sherlock Holmes. Jared Harris is also great as the villain. He is Holmes’ equal but at the same time his polar opposite. Jude Law is also great as well as Naomi Price. I mentioned that the film is more of an action film than a crime mystery and that’s really my only complaint with the film.
Overall, “A Game of Shadows” is great film following a better film. A good film in its own right but does dip in quality however makes up by having great performances from the returning and new cast. Fans of the 2 films eagerly await for a third film which has been confirmed for a December 2021 release with Downey and Law both returning. While Robert Downey Jr. went on to continue his role as Tony Stark in the MCU, Jude Law went to star in films such as “The Grand Budapest Hotel”, “Black Sea” & “Fantastic Beast & Where to Find Them”. He starred in the Guy Ritchie film, “King Arthur: Legend of the Sword” and in Marvel’s “Captain Marvel”. Guy Ritchie went on to direct “The Man From U.N.C.L.E” and Disney’s live action version of “Aladdin”.