Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows
The best sequels do more than their predecessors. Average sequels do the same as their predecessors.
This Holmes falls into the latter camp. It moves forward a little, but not enough.
Much of the fun of the first Sherlock Holmes was seeing the characters interpreted in a fresh new light. The take on the characters is still lots of fun. The bickering-but-close relationship between Robert Downey’s Holmes and Jude Law’s Watson is still tremendous fun to watch, but the relationship between them doesn’t change much from the first film.
The one place that A Game of Shadows tries to move forward is by bringing in the villain. Of course, for Holmes, there is only one arch-foe, Professor Moriarty. Moriarty has always been an incredibly tricky character for Holmes adaptations; I’ve seen only a couple of interpretations of him that worked for me. Jared Harris’s Moriarity is one of the best. He brings a vindictive intelligence to the part that winds up the tension in the final scenes.
Moriarty’s plan, however, is one part confusing and one part stale. You spend a lot of time in the movie without understanding what’s at stake. And when you do learn what’s at stake, it’s disappointing to learn that it’s a scheme that other films villains have tried to spring before. It doesn’t feel fresh.
Though I’m in no hurry to watch this one again, the team here is good enough that I would see a third film if they made one.