In this present movie atmosphere, replete as it is with sequels, it’s a treat to see a sequel that can actually measure up to its predecessor. “Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows” does just that.
With Guy Ritchie (“Lock, Stock,” “Snatch”) again at the helm and Robert Downey, Jr.—the first no-s#@t Sherlock—and Jude Law returning to their titular and sidekick roles, respectively, Sir Conan Doyle’s super-sleuth has never been so much fun to watch.
The story starts more or less where the first one left off. Militant groups from two countries—“I can’t tell you which ones, but I can tell you they speak French and German”—are blowing each other up all in a complex plot of Holmes’ nemesis, Professor James Moriarty (Jared Harris). But Moriarty’s global aims are not enough to satisfy him. He has also set his sights on Holmes, Doctor Watson and, worse still, Watson’s new wife (Kelly Reilly).
In an effort to protect his only friend as well as untangle Moriarty’s web of intrigue, Holmes engages in an international mission involving gypsies, disguises, German arms manufacturers and a Shetland pony.
Through it all, “Game of Shadows” maintains a familiar bridge with its progenitor. It and the 2009 “Sherlock Holmes” have a similar enough feel but a different enough flavor they’re like two different meals off the same menu at an Italian restaurant.
Humor, wit and action are all present as they were in the first film. The verbal interplay between Holmes and Watson is there; and the addition of Sherlock’s older brother Mycroft—played by the rapier-witted Stephen Fry—expands the hilarity to another level without losing any of its class.
The real beauty of it all lies in the action, of course. The chase through the German forest is the highlight of the film and, in the Ammo Dump’s opinion, the true action climax of the picture.
One wonders where Guy Ritchie is going to go from here. But it would be fair to say fans of the Holmesian canon would not be disappointed if the Downey Jr. Sherlock saw a lifespan equal to the Jeremy Brett serial.
Ammo Dump rating: 10 shells from “Little Hansel”
(Rated PG-13; 129 min.)
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