Sherlock Holmes – A Game of Shadows (2011) – A Movie Review

This sequel to the previously reviewed 2009 movie “Sherlock Holmes” has actors Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law returning as Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson.  And Rachel McAdams, Kelly Reilly, Geraldine James and Eddie Marsan also reprise their roles as, respectively, Irene Adler, Mary Watson, Mrs. Hudson and Inspector Lestrade.

The plot of this movie is once again an original story but it does add in elements from one particular Arthur Conan Doyle story namely, the “The Adventure of the Final Problem.”  This is the story in which Arthur Conan Doyle arranges the final showdown between Holmes and his nemesis Professor Moriarty.  And this story covers what was in the written story but adds much more in the way of motivation for the duel to the death between Holmes and Moriarty.  And the writers manage to link the story to the greater reality of this time period.  They tie Moriarty’s evil plot to the actual fact that in 1900 Europe is on the precipice of World War.  The movie even has Moriarty explicitly chide Holmes with the bitter reality that even if he eliminates Moriarty, it still will not stop the coming war.

I’m happy to say that the dash and humor from the first movie are on clear display in this second film.  The camaraderie between Holmes and Watson are undiminished even after Dr. Watson finally marries Mary.  In fact, the occasion of the honeymoon provides one of the most comical scenes in the movie with Holmes dressed as a woman attempting to save the newlyweds from imminent death on a train packed with assassins.

I won’t attempt to synopsize the plot.  It would sound like nonsense and I refuse to spoil the details of the plot.  Suffice it to say that Holmes and Watson traipse across Europe attempting to catch up to the plot that Moriarty has set in motion.  And Jared Harris who portrays Professor James Moriarty is a great villain.

As with the preceding movie I have the highest praise for this film.  All the principal parts are brilliantly acted.  I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys a well-made entertainment film.  And just to add an interesting note, ten years after this movie the producers have finally had the opportunity to film another sequel.  I look forward to that movie with great anticipation.