Having been an informal fan of Sherlock Holmes from a young age, I was pleased to find that the first movie very much lived up to the hype I'd heard surrounding it. I was a fan of Jude Law and Robert Downey Jr before the movie, but they seemed odd casting for the roles. But they worked, and I absolutely loved the story.
Still, I was worried that the sequel might not live up to the first. After all, sequels are notorious for failing to live up to the promise of their predecessors. I needn't have worried. While this story may not have been quite as tightly woven as the first, it was highly enjoyable.
Robert Downey Jr is wonderfully quixotic as Holmes once more, and some of the less subtle things in the first movie (the fighting in particular) are more so in this one. There's a lovely sequence when instead of reciting his planned moves as in the first, he refers to them as lines in a recipe. And another at the end where the tables are turned on him.
Jude Law is lovely in this, and somehow more and less gormless than in the first film, which he seemed to spend the majority of his time angry at Holmes. In this, he's allowed a great deal more agency, and actually contributes to the story in a major way.
The new additions--Stephen Frye as Mycroft and Jared Harris as Moriarty--add a wonderful spice to the story. Both are excellent actors, and the few moments onscreen with Mycroft and Sherlock, or "Sherlie" as his brother calls him, are absolutely wonderful.
The endgame is unsurprising to anyone who knows the Sherlock Holmes series, but despite that, there are some surprises, and watching Sherlock and Moriarty circle each other is fascinating. It almost seems a shame that we won't see more movies with the two facing off against each other.
There are some lovely musical cues. Notable among them, the horse riding segment, the Opera montage, and the torture scene. But throughout, you can always hear the strains of the Holmes theme.
Overall, I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoyed the first.