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Jacqueline Monahan's Movie Reviews

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows | Robert Downey Jr., Jude Law, Noomi Rapace, Stephen Fry, Jared Harris, Rachel McAdams | Review

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  3_Chicks_Small Jacqueline Monahan

Jacqueline  Monahan

Las Vegas Round The Clock
Jacqueline Monahan is an educator for the GEAR UP program at UNLV.
She is also an entertainment reporter for
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Sherlock Holmes:  A Game of Shadows | Robert Downey Jr. | Jude Law | Noomi Rapace | Stephen Fry | Jared Harris | Rachel McAdams | Review

The charming sleuth is back and he’s met his match, as foreshadowed in Guy Ritchie’s first tango with Sherlock Holmes in 2009.  Holmes (Robert Downey Jr.) along with Dr. Watson (Jude Law) is on the trail of an assassin working for his arch nemesis Professor James Moriarty (Jared Harris).

Also working for Moriarty, albeit briefly, is Holmes’ love/hate flame Irene Adler (Rachel McAdams).  The famous detective can’t be anchored down, now can he?  Goodnight, Irene.

Moriarty’s henchman, Col. Sebastian Moran (Paul Henderson) is a sharp-shooter who follows his deadly orders with cold precision, kind of like a wireless remote of mayhem for his hyper-intelligent boss.

The year is 1891 and a string of politically-motivated bombings pit France and Germany against each other.  Holmes has deduced that Moriarty’s behind it all.  At Watson’s bachelor party at a sedate gentlemen’s club, the pair meets Madame Simza (Noomi Rapace) a fortune teller whose brother Rene is somehow involved in Moriarty’s scheme.  Somehow, as in Moriarty has tapped him to be the flashpoint of a world war.  Rene must be found, and stopped.

In no time at all the three join forces in a journey that will take them into Switzerland for an important diplomatic event.  Holmes’ brother Mycroft (Stephen Fry) works for the Foreign Office and occasionally assists his younger sibling; you may come to the visual conclusion that the two had different fathers.

War loving Moriarty’s planned mischief is to unfold within its walls and the Holmes gang must try to intercede.  This is nicely captured in metaphor by a chess game between Holmes and Moriarty in which the two men speak of maneuvers, motives and murder.

Robert Downey Jr. is superb as the brazen, unflappable Holmes.  Jude Law plays second banana with skeptical style.  Noomi Rapace has a predatory look about her that suits her role’s hint of danger.

Jared Harris as Moriarty is emotionally constipated, coolly cruel, out in the open too much to be truly menacing.  It was far more effective when his character kept to the shadows as the title would suggest.

Director Guy Ritchie creates a carbon copy of his original creation, but pushed to the nth degree.  Whatever worked in the first film is repeated, enhanced and tripled in the second.  Count on some déjà vu. Want explosions, slick rapid-fire/slow motion sequences, a long fall into water?  Fisticuffs with freakish ne’er-do-wells?  Welcome back.  It’s just that the real jewel here, Downey’s loquacious, opiate-loving Holmes, takes a backseat to all of the frenzy.

Hans Zimmer’s score is evocative in a clever, saucy way, and adds immensely to the 19th century feel of the film.

The flavor and atmosphere is still there, yet it’s not as original as the original film that introduced the younger Holmes into cinematic consciousness.  Still, there’s Downey and Law in the lead roles, bringing intelligence and charisma into the rehash almost to the point of salvation.

Then, disappointingly, it then slips back into the shadows.

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