Tag Archives: Stephen Fry

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (2011)

<strong class="MovieTitle">Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows</strong> (2011)

(In theaters, December 2011) It goes without saying that sequels often aim to replicate the elements that made the success of their predecessor, and add something more.  In this light, this follow-up to 2009’s Sherlock Holmes is an unqualified success, and maybe even a more enjoyable film than its predecessor.  Front and center, of course, is Robert Downey Jr.’s fast-witted take on the title character, complete with instant-strategy monologues and slashy repartee with Jude Law’s dependable Watson.  More importantly, though, Game of Shadows ups the ante by providing an antagonist that is strong enough to present a challenge to Holmes: Jared Harris’ Moriarty lives up to its literary namesake, and makes for a formidable opponent.  It all leads to a climactic chess game that plays off a few of the series’ signature motifs.  (Literary fans will see Reichenbach Falls appear and nod at where the film is going.)  Casting Stephen Fry as Mycroft is a bit of a coup, while it’s nice to see Noomi Rapace’s high cheekbones get a bit of Hollywood gloss after her role as “The Girl” of the Millennium trilogy.  Director Guy Richie once again provides an action-adventure take on the basic premise, along with light steampunk esthetics and slow-motion action sequences.  (A blue-tinted run through a forest provides a quasi-impressionistic sequence of almost-still images.)  While the end result doesn’t transcend the Hollywood holiday blockbuster genre, it’s a well-executed example of the form, keenly aware of its audience’s demands and almost eager to satisfy them.