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Monday, January 9, 2012

Movie Review: Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows

When the first Sherlock Holmes movie strode into theaters back in holiday season 2009, I was blown away and mesmerized by the sheer brilliance and excellent performances given by its stalwart cast, notably Hollywood icons Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law, who portray the titular character Sherlock Holmes and his colleague Dr. John Watson, respectively. In the same vein that Batman Begins and Casino Royale recreated the sagas of The Dark Knight and James Bond, this flick totally gave us a new and wacky interpretation of Mr. Holmes, and his methods are quite eccentric and comedic in nature that it proved to be a good choice by director Guy Ritchie to cast RDJ as the genius sleuth and detective, with the latter riding out his newly acquired fandom thanks to his unprecedented role of Tony Stark in 2008's Iron Man.

I've seen the movie twice to count, once in Hong Kong this past December (making it both films in the series I've seen in HK) and the other this past Thursday for the special advance local premiere, courtesy and thanks to Jay Gonzales and the people of Warner Bros. Philippines. It may be a few weeks late after its initial release in the US, but rest assured, if you're a fan of Guy Ritchie and RDJ's interpretation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's seminal fictitious work, you may want to give this a shot, as it opens today as of this writing in theaters locally. With that said, here's my review of Sherlock Holmes: A Game Of Shadows!

*Originally posted in Timzster

Movie: Sherlock Holmes: A Game Of Shadows
Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Jude Law, Jared Harris, Noomi Rapace, Rachel McAdams
Release Date: December 16, 2011 (US), January, 6 2012 (RP)

Picking up directly (or some time) in 1891 after the events of the first movie, Sherlock Holmes' latest case has him taking on greatest adversary yet - the crafty, sinister, and mastermind genius known as Professor James Moriarty. After attempting and failing to foil one of his assassination attempts at a respected figure (with grave consequences I will not spoil), Holmes and his dearest friend Dr. Watson are tangled in a web of conspiracy that sees them fighting tooth and nail to prevent the Professor from unleashing a series of events that will spell war between nations. Moriarty is certainly not a man to be underestimated with, and Holmes must channel all of his abilities together in order avert catastrophe and save those dearest to him.

Sherlock Holmes: A Game Of Shadows Trailer 2

Straight to the point: I think this was a worthy follow up to the first. Watching the movie twice has given me some clarity about why I enjoyed A Game Of Shadows immensely. Some critics and viewers may have mixed reactions towards this sequel, but I put it up there alongside my list of favorite movies of the past year, and it certainly did not disappoint. If you're going to look at it as "The Dark Knight" or "Spider-Man 2" follow up to the first film, then you're probably putting too much expectation on your shoulders. It doesn't top or weigh less than the first Sherlock Holmes film, and it should be taken as another chapter that fans of the original definitely shouldn't miss. Robert Downey Jr.'s craftiness and acting earns him the spotlight once again as the eccentric Sherlock Holmes, as does his foil and ever reliable best friend Dr. Watson played by Jude Law. The chemistry between these two just got more hilarious in this installment, and if you thought the good doctor would have an easier time with his eccentric friend in this adventure, think again. Playing his crafty nemesis and the "Napoleon of Crime" Professor James Moriarty is Jared Harris, who does exceptionally well in making Holmes' latest caper more than just a walk in the park. The evil man has weaved together a plot that has dire consequences for all of London, Paris, Germany, and the rest of the world, and as two opposing and intellectual forces collide, the rest of the universe is drawn into their game of cat and mouse. Since the role was draped in mystery in the previous flick, Moriarty shows his face for the first time in the sequel. He doesn't use his hidden guns like the last time, but he's just as manipulative and sinister as ever.

Also joining the game is one Noomi Rapace, playing the role of gypsy girl and new lead lady Simza, who acquires the services of Holmes and Watson in order to find her missing older brother. She assists the duo in their adventure with her gypsy trope, and she's no pushover either. The movie also introduces Sherlock's older brother in the form of Mycroft Holmes, played by veteran British actor Stephen Fry, who also starred in the 2006 film adaptation of V for Vendetta. He is the less adventurous and more reserved of two, but just as brilliant and witty as his younger brother "Sherly". Making their returns from the first movie are Watson's fiance and new wife Mary Morstan-Watson (Kelly Reilly), Inspector Lestrade (Eddie Marsan), and the ever elusive and beautiful Irene Adler, played again by Rachel McAdams. Their roles in the sequel aren't as large as the previous film, but they are important nonetheless, and fit well into the narrative as all things do in a story.

If you're looking wit, comedy, and a thirst for adventure, then Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows has everything you need to make your two hours count and well spent. I certainly enjoyed every minute of it, and despite some people saying that it's not as authentic as the original, it holds its own ground and gives off the same flair, style, and excitement, maybe adding a little more in the process. Truth be told, those who enjoyed the first may like this or not, but one thing's for sure, the game is afoot on this, and there are no missteps in the adventure, well until the very end.

Rating - 5/5

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