DIR: Guy Ritchie • WRI: Michele Mulroney, Kieran Mulroney • PRO: Susan Downey, Dan Lin, Joel Silver, Lionel Wigram • DOP: Philippe Rousselot • ED: James Herbert • DES: Sarah Greenwood • CAST: Robert Downey Jr., Jude Law, Jared Harris, Rachel McAdams
So when we last left Robert Downey Jr., Jude Law and director Guy Richie, the looming threat of the arrival of Holmes’ to-be nemesis Moriarty was on the horizon. And so here he is placed front and centre, played with devilish delight by Mad Men alumni Jared Harris. Such is the jump in villainy that it’s a disappointment that the rest of the movie can’t keep up.
As is the rule for sequels, bigger is better; and so instead of just staying in London this time, the olde time dynamic duo are hopping all over Europe to stop Moriarty’s dastardly plans. Downey Jr. and Law have fit snugly into their roles a second time around, with their homoerotic bromance dialled up to 11. New additions Stephen Fry as Sherlock’s older, smarter brother Mycroft, and Noomi Rapace as a fortune telling gypsy who somehow is at the centre of everything, don’t really make much of an impression.
The story is kind of confusing since only Holmes and Moriarty seem to know what it is, and only reveal it right at the very end. And once it is revealed, it’s vaguely disappointing considering Moriarty is supposed to be an evil genius but for some reason is stealing nefarious plot ideas from Z-List Bond Villains. The action sequences have also been ramped up in size and intensity from the original, especially during a blistering shoot-out in a German forest that sees our heroes on the run from a world-class marksman and an armada of tanks.
But Holmes was never intended to be an action film, and the scenes of verbal jousting between Holmes and Moriarty are without a doubt the highlights of the movie. More of those for Part Three, please.
Rated 12A (see IFCO website for details)
Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows is released on 16th December 2011