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Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows: Movie Review

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Yet again, director Guy Ritchie films an intriguing Sherlock Holmes’ story with an updated look, one that combines two loves of moviegoers – detective dramas and action movies – into a whizz-bang cinematic experience.

Starring Robert Downey, Jr., and Jude Law, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows is intelligent and witty. Set in 1891, it builds on the novelty of the original without taking the easy storyline road by limiting Holmes to a simple murder mystery within the confines of London. This sequel's greatest asset is the introduction of the vilest of villains from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's detective series – Moriarty (aptly played by Jared Harris).


Sherlock Holmes, the master of deduction, meets his intellectual match in criminal mastermind Professor James Moriarty. With an intricate web of crime and powerful people on Moriarty’s side, Holmes must follow the all-too-obvious (at least to him) clues that expose Moriarty’s reprehensible deeds. The history of the world hangs in the balance.


Thankfully, the plot for this sequel isn’t lazy and doesn't skate by with an unintelligent story. It would have been easy to stay in familiar territory by limiting Holmes and Watson to solving murders for Scotland Yard. Instead moviegoers are taken on a deducting adventure as the two sleuths track evidence that a powerful force is orchestrating a criminal network seeking to exploit man’s insatiable need to engage in conflict. In this new addition to director Guy Ritchie’s collection of Holmes films, the “consulting detective” faces off with none other than Professor Moriarty.

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows doesn’t rely on the same humor fans laughed at while watching the first film. Holmes still has a few tricks up his sleeve. Under Ritchie’s direction, this sequel blends humor and drama, adds a good bit of explosions, making it a popcorn-worthy movie. British actor Jared Harris joins the fray as Holmes’ arch nemesis, the equally brilliant Professor James Moriarty. Harris effortlessly portrays this reprehensible adversary. Robert Downey, Jr. and Jude Law reprise their roles as the crime-solving crusader and his at-times reluctant sidekick. Their chemistry hits even closer to the mark as their friendship is developed and tested, with their comedic and dramatic time on point. Swedish actress Noomi Rapace is another newcomer to the series, playing a gypsy fortune teller.

Though the action sequences are thrilling to watch, the most memorable scenes are the dialogue-heavy exchanges between Sherlock Holmes and Moriarty. It’s wit for wit, each attempting to outmaneuver the other. These two match in intellect, portraying a clear picture of how two motives – one seeking truth, the other satisfying his greedy nature – ultimately clash.

Purist may not like the sleuthing superhero-like character director Guy Ritchie has created, but it’s all too thrilling for the mainstream audience who is used to explosive film productions. Scored and filmed by Oscar-winners composer Hans Zimmer (Sherlock Holmes, Inception) and cinematographer Philippe Rousselot (Sherlock Holmes, Big Fish), A Game of Shadows is visually and musically engaging.

Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, and some drug material, the movie is inappropriate for children. Parents should know that though there is no gore, blood is spilled in hand to hand combat and modernized battle-like chase sequences. One scene partially shows the back side of an actor as he walks around his home naked and a character is introduced to the story in a scene where Tarot cards are read.


Sherlock’s masterful arch nemesis fully engages you and the Holmesian humor and action – of which fans are familiar from the original – make A Game of Shadows an entertaining movie.

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About The Author


Hannah Goodwyn served as a Senior Producer for, managing and writing for the award-winning website. After her undergraduate studies at Christopher Newport University, Hannah went on to study Journalism at the graduate level. In 2005, she graduated summa cum laude with her Master's from Regent University and was honored with an Outstanding Student Award. From there, Hannah began work as a content producer for For ten years, she acted as the managing producer for the website's Family and Entertainment sections. A movie buff, Hannah felt right at home working as's