IN 2009 Sherlock Holmes was given a new lease of life on the silver screen by Robert Downey Jr and the success of the first film has led to the birth of a second.
Downey Jr as Sherlock is accompanied by Jude Law who plays trusty sidekick/assistant (the debate is never ending) Watson. The premise of this film is a professor who has friends in high places is bombing various countries in Europe in an attempt to get them to turn on one another and prove to be the catalyst for the First World War, all in the name of financial gain.
Not the most original plot as something similar was the driving force behind The League of Extraordinary Gentleman released in 2003. Despite this the film travels at a fair pace. Downey Jr plays Sherlock with a vigour of man who has reinvented himself as the renaissance man. He portrays Sherlock with a light touch, even going as far as dressing up as a woman during a slapstick sequence on a train.
Guy Ritchie returns in the director’s chair and it shows. Favouring big explosive screen compositions as opposed subtle manipulation of the mise-en-scene, which takes away from the film as a lot of Sherlock’s observations are done in flashy flashbacks. There is also an action sequence set in the woods which was a blatant attempt to give the 3D audience a cheap thrill, with the kitsch Matrix slow-mo and the shards of wood flying off the screen.
But despite this the film keeps you engaged with Downey JR owning the screen. He is ably supported by Noomi Rapace who plays French Gypsy Madame Simza Heron. Another familiar face, Stephen Fry is also on top form. Walking around nude, throwing around deadpan lines and generally having fun. His interactions with Kelly Reilly who plays Mary Morstan-Watson keep you entertained throughout.
All in all ‘A Game of Shadows’ is a solid outing with a really strong cast both in name and on screen, the plot is lacking in depth but not tension and some of the action set-pieces are unnecessary.