Sherlock Holmes 2 A Game of Shadows

Is that all you got? Bring it on!

Reviewed by: Alicia Glass
Published on: March 15, 2022 (URL is not
Available on: Netflix
Content release date: 2011-12-16

Reviewed by Alicia Glass

Review Rating: 7

Warning! Spoilers!

Master investigator Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson return to take on the matchwit mastermind Moriarty!

I can’t help it, I have to say it – the movie is unworthy. There are glorious chase and fight scenes, marvelous acting from everyone involved, storyline and wit to spare; and yet. The storyline is handed to the viewer on a plastic plate, it’s practically spoon-fed to the audience, and that is unworthy of Sherlock Holmes. Certainly the motivations they gave this Moriarty, the reasons behind his masterminded criminal self, are elementary-schoolish and unworthy of Moriarty, lauded in the novels as the one man who could match wits with Sherlock Holmes himself. And then there’s the hole that a great many movie sequels fall into, that I don’t particularly care for – the humanizing (or humiliations) of the main character. This time, Sherlock Holmes wears a dress and makeup, rides a pony across countrysides, and is almost always one step behind. This sort of thing, that sequels like Spider-man 2 and Fantastic Four 2 fell prey to, bothers me. We’ve already established previously that Holmes has a face that’s a scattered slovenly drunk, one that can be used to good comedic effect yes, but our hero doesn’t need his nose repeatedly rubbed in it.

Holmes is thankfully once again visited by Robert Downey Jr., who gamely runs a tired character through the wedding of his best friend, the chase after Moriarty, and the reserved charm that he’s made the movies famous for. Jude Law returns as Dr. Watson, limping and sporting a cane, still trying to keep after Holmes. This new movie brings sidekick gypsy female lead Sim, played by Noomi Rapace of the original Girl with the Dragon Tattoo movies. Turns out it’s good to have a gypsy sidekick, they can do both underworld and big city just fine, thank you. Joining the folk chasing after Sherlock is his brother Mycroft Holmes, played by Stephen Fry of V for Vendetta notoriety. He’s more or less fine for the role, but there is an entire scene where he’s at least thought to be completely naked, and I think we could’ve all lived without that. Jared Harris of series like Mad Men and Fringe stars as Moriarty, and he does a fairly fine job of it too, I thought. It just seemed to me that the movie gods made his vast intelligence seem small from his proposed motivations; it made me sad. Rachel McAdams returns as Irene Adler, and uh, I wasn’t happy with what happened to her character either. It seems likely to me that she’ll show back up in another sequel, and like the ending of this sequel, it seems an almost cheap plot ploy to be using since you know damn well they can’t actually be dead.

The first Sherlock Holmes movie done in this fashion was a masterpiece. Even with the Saw-style clue-by-four scene at the end, I had to puzzle my way through the plot for a little while there. Game of Shadows here had the ClueX4 scene practically every 30 minutes or so of the movie, and that my dears, is unworthy. Even so, the climactic chase and battle scenes are always awesome, everyone loves the stoic interactions between beloved friends Holmes and Watson, and there is almost never a lag in the pacing of the movie. You can watch it, and even enjoy it, just don’t expect to be bowled over by the plot.