Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows
Guy Ritchie has always been a hit or miss in terms of mainstream success. In 2009, he hit a box-office homerun with the original Sherlock Holmes. And while his 2011 follow-up wasn't nearly as complete a film, it is still ruled as a line drive double in the gap.
Albeit a small cameo, Rachel McAdams is out. In her place sits Noomi Repace, a decent substitute given the role, but a large step in reverse in terms of on-screen talent and chemistry with heavy-hitting frontman Robert Downey Jr. Jude Law also returns as Watson, completing the dynamic duo that shares some of film's most interesting dialogue exchanges.
The film's main deterrent lies within its story. Keeping the fresh and visually appealing style intact, Ritchie allows the story to get a bit out of control at times, rarely reeling it back in and often losing the focus of the film. Many segments offer little in terms of originality, and the central story seems a bit too focused on the unmentioned than fits the target audience. It's extremely goofy in parts and a bit overly complex in others. The imbalance leaves you exhausted by the end, and I feel the younger audience will be a bit confused by the reason behind our main villain’s actions.
The story revolves around Holmes' attempt to thwart the plan set in place by Professor James Moriarty. Holmes has always been the smartest in the room, but that isn't the case anymore. Moriarty's intelligence, mixed with his lack of a human soul gives him the advantage, putting our detective on the defense for much of the film. But not to worry, with the help of Watson and Madam Simza Heron, the tide will soon tilt, or else the world will find itself at war.
Ritchie's style keeps the film fresh and entertaining, but the story drags it down, especially during its everlasting middle section. In the end, the film is an entertaining experience worthy of a purchase. And if you enjoy Downey Jr.'s performance, you'll love the disc's most prominent bonus feature: an in-depth look at the film with the film's leading star!