Sherlock Holmes: A Game Of Shadows

The first Sherlock Holmes convinced us that Guy Richie actually had a good film in him. His luck's timed out though for this second effort.

 

2 stars

 

 

Robert Downey Jr and Jude Law as Holmes and Watson

 

Director: Guy Ritchie

Starring: Robert Downey Jr, Jude Law, Jared Harris, Noomi Rapace

 

Once upon a time, Robert Downey Jr was a really good actor.

 

Invariably the best thing in a succession of movies that never quite hit their mark, he was Oscar nominated at 27 and sent into court-ordered-drug-rehab by the time he was 35. As career crash and burns go, it was pretty spectacular.

 

Sherlock dons a flamboyant dress code for undercover work

Finally achieving sobriety around 2002, Downey Jr began his long road to career rehabilitation with roles in Shane Black's Kiss, Kiss, Bang, Bang and Richard Linklater's adaptation of Philip K. Dick's A Scanner Darkly.

 

Finally earning mainstream Hollywood's trust once more, Downey Jr delivered 'A' grade support work in both George Clooney's Good Night, and Good Luck and David Fincher's Zodiac. And then came Iron Man.

 

Catapulted to superstardom off the back of playing Marvel's Golden Avenger, Downey Jr followed that up with the lead in Guy Ritchie's loud, overlong and only sporadically entertaining Sherlock Holmes (2009).

 

As with Iron Man, Holmes was such a big hit that a sequel was rushed into production. However, unlike Iron Man 2, early word surrounding Downey Jr's sophomore turn as Sherlock was that this was a far more confident and consistent entry than Ritchie's scratchy debut film.

 

Sadly, the opposite is true.

 

Despite taking its cue from one of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's more famous stories, writers Michele and Kieran Mulroney choose to construct a story that is more in the vein of a Flashman or Bond adventure than one belonging to Holmes, featuring, as it does, imperial intrigue, eye twisting (and hard to follow) action and ever more ludicrous set-pieces and plot twists.

 

Jared Harris as Moriarty

Egged on by the success of the first Holmes feature, it seems that Ritchie and Downey Jr take every element of the original picture that teetered on the brink of self-parody and choose to push it even further.

 

You want speed-ramped action? It's here with bells on!

 

More hints of Holmes and Watson's sexual attraction? How about a cross-dressing 'love' scene on a train?

 

Lots more sequences of Downey Jr being 'wacky' and 'eccentric'? Well, his wife's the producer…what do you expect?!?

 

Which I guess is all fine and dandy, I suppose, as long as you don't then choose to put Holmes up against his arch nemesis, Professor Moriarty, and then cast an actor who proceeds to blow your lead off the screen.

 

James Peaty

 

 

Click here for a preview of the BBC's stratospherically superior series:

 

 

Sherlock Holmes: A Game Of Shadows
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FACT YOU!

Harry Potter at 'King's Cross' station

In the Harry Potter films, the exterior used for King's Cross Station is actually St Pancras Station.

 

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