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Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (2011) review

Posted : 5 years, 8 months ago on 3 January 2014 07:33

great movie, even better than the first, even though the first was amazing, the sets were realistic and huge, it really sets the times, you don't know what to expect with this movie which kind of makes it a thriller type movie, its also fun and comical. I love this movie i love the series and i can't wait for the next one. There isn't a boring moment.


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An average movie

Posted : 6 years, 4 months ago on 4 May 2013 09:56

Oh dear... It seems that the days of 'Snatch.' are long gone... What I mean by that is that 'Snatch' is one of my favorite movies ('Lock, stock...' was pretty good too) and, back in those days, Guy Ritchie seemed to be one of the most promising directors. However, his career went down pretty bad but he seems to be back in the game with 'RocknRolla' and 'Sherlock Holmes' which were both very well received. Personally, even though I enjoyed those two movies, I never thought they were that amazing but since 'Sherlock Holmes' was a huge box-office hit, of course, they had to come up with a sequel. Eventually, it was not bad but not much more, I'm afraid. I mean, it was visually really appealing (something Guy Ritchie still knows how to handle), Robert Downey Jr. was quite brilliant, as usual, and he had, once again, some very good chemistry with Jude Law. Unfortunately, I really had a hard time to care about the story. At least, with its predecessor, I didn't care much either but I was still entertained throughout the whole thing whereas, with this sequel, I started to get bored half way through. Personally, I think the whole thing is just way too convoluted. I mean, you either make an action movie or you make a cerebral one but don't make one pretending to be the other. Furthermore, I thought that Noomi Rapace was totally wasted here. For her first Hollywood part, even though she had a prominent role, she barely had anything to do during the whole thing except tagging along behind Holmes and Watson. Still, I have to admit, those two fellows worked pretty well together, the whole thing was very well made, so it remains a rather entertaining blockbuster and I guess it is worth a look, especially if you enjoyed the previous installment.

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Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (2011) review

Posted : 7 years, 4 months ago on 5 May 2012 09:35

Being a avid fan of Sherlock Holmes,finally I got hold of this movie of Serlock Holmes,A Game of Shadows. Movie is a good one , but the only problem is the performance of Jared Harris, whose dialogue delivery is same as in his series of FRINGE.

Sherlock Holmes supposed to be the smartest man existed till a new criminal mastermind mathematician, at large—Professor Moriarty—and not only is he Holmes' intellectual equal, but his capacity for evil, coupled with a complete lack of conscience, may actually give him an advantage over the renowned detective.

Now it is a cat and mouse game rather a game of shadows between the two.

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Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (2011) review

Posted : 7 years, 6 months ago on 21 March 2012 07:56

I suppose any hope of an authentic Sherlock Holmes movie is foolish at this epoch in movie history. No matter that a story is set in 1895 in Victorian London, it must be chockablock with explosions, gunfire, special effects and fights that bear no comparison to the "fisticuffs" of the period. As an Anglophile, I've luxuriated in the genial atmosphere of the Conan Doyle stories, where a step is heard on the stair, a client tells his tale, and Holmes withdraws to his rooms to consider his new case during a period of meditation (involving such study aids as opium).

We see a great deal of Victorian London (and Paris and Switzerland) in "Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows," but we must look quickly. The movie all but hurtles through episodes that would be leisurely set pieces in a traditional Holmes story. This is a modern action picture played in costume. I knew it would be. After Guy Ritchie's "Sherlock Holmes" (2009) with Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law grossed something like half a billion dollars, this was no time to rethink the approach. What they have done, however, is add a degree of refinement and invention, and I enjoyed this one more than the earlier film.

"Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows" opens with an emergency that threatens to rock Holmes' world: Dr. Watson (Law) is getting married. In the first film, we learned of his engagement to Mary Watson (Kelly Reilly), and now a date has been set for the poor girl. Holmes (Downey), who considers himself every bit as much good company as the doctor could possibly require, deplores this development, and indeed even joins the blissful couple on their honeymoon train journey. At one point, he throws Mary off the train, but to be fair, it's to save her life.

Most of the film centers on a climax in the long-standing feud between Holmes and Professor James Moriarty (Jared Harris), who beneath his cover as an Oxford don, is the mastermind of an anarchist plot to use bombings and assassinations to push Europe into war. Moriarty would profit handsomely from that because he operates an enormous secret munitions factory, turning out everything from machine pistols to gigantic cannons. The lives of many European heads of state are threatened, and Holmes is the only hope to keep the peace.

Once this game is afoot, it seems too large to be contained by the eccentric investigator of 221B Baker Street and Watson, his intimate. (I am using "intimate" as both a noun and an insinuation.) It's more of a case for James Bond, and Moriarty's grandiosity seems on a scale with a Bond villain. Guy Ritchie and his writers Michele and Kieran Mulroney, however, wisely devote some of their best scenes to one-on-ones between Holmes and Moriarty.

Their struggle comes to a head in an elegant, high-stakes chess game, held for some reason in Switzerland in the dead of a winter night on a snowy outdoor balcony. As played by Jared Harris, Moriarty doesn't gnash or fulminate, but fences with Holmes in barbed language. This returns the story somewhat to the Conan Doyle tradition that Holmes did most of his best work in his mind.

Dr. Watson has a more proactive role this time. "A Game of Shadows" opens with him recalling these events on a typewriter that is too modern for 1895 but maybe suggests he's writing years later. He's not just a confidante and chronicler but a hero, too, involved in fights and shootouts. His wife must be thankful that Holmes abruptly eliminated her from most of the action.

Mycroft, Holmes' brother, turns out to be well-placed at the center of European diplomacy; Stephen Fry has plummy good fun in the role, especially in nude moments where he shields his netherlands from view by employing artfully arranged foregrounds in the "Austin Powers" tradition. Two women characters are prominent. Back again is Irene Adler (Rachel McAdams), the enigmatic figure in much romantic speculation about Holmes. And we meet for the first time a gypsy fortune teller named Madame Simza Heron, played by Noomi Rapace, the original "Girl With the Dragon Tattoo." She capably discharges the duties required of her as Madam Heron, but demonstrates how really brilliantly conceived the Dragon Lady was. Heron is pale by comparison.

It's Downey's movie. With his cool, flippant manner, his Holmes stands apart from the danger, thinking it through visually before performing it, remaining insouciant in the face of calamity. He appears in many disguises, one with a markedly bad wig, another as a remarkably convincing chair. The thing to do, I suppose, is to set aside your memories of the Conan Doyle stories, save them to savor on a night this winter and enjoy this movie as a high-caliber entertainment.

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A sequel that is better than its predecessor.

Posted : 7 years, 7 months ago on 28 January 2012 02:33

After the incredibly fun, amusing yet slightly overrated predecessor back in 2009, we are granted with another Christmas treat - the sequel, but this one looked a lot darker, perhaps funnier and more serious. Being a film based upon fictional legends, you’re going to have to fill in the realism of the 1800s, the actors to give solid performances as if they were really that character and yet to add a bit of comical concepts to it by mixing modern-day humour together with intense action with dazzling effects and make-up. Both of these films achieved this tremendously, but the sequel especially attains a darker dialogue, even more comedy and a lot stronger chemistry between the characters.

Having been approximately the 45th film adaptation of Sherlock Holmes up to his top game by unravelling mysteries, the one thing that has always been there with every single one is what you see within the films is what you get. The action sequences are more energetic, more intense and much more explosive in this sequel than in the predecessor. In addition to this there is another newly added style of filming that didn’t jeopardise the film as a whole but perhaps slowed down the pacing (especially when it’s meant to me an action film): there were too many slow-motion shots in too many segments.

Guy Ritchie, the director who wasn’t only behind the first Sherlock Holmes film but some of the most popular British crime films from the likes of Lock, Stock And Two Smoking Barrels, Snatch and RocknRolla. Already with the experience of more adult-themed films, he added again to this sequel some more mature dark humour and badass tone but something different by adding new kinds of comical characteristics including entertainment for youngsters and alongside intense action. So, after achieving this with both Sherlock Holmes films, Ritchie ought to consider making more films in the future that are related to those certain aspects.

Re-born shining star Robert Downey Jr. already charmed us with his fantastic performance in the 2009 predecessor as Sherlock Holmes and to no great surprise; he manages to do just that yet again in the sequel. If there is anything that Downey Jr’s role as Sherlock is somewhat identical to, it’d be Johnny Depp’s role as ‘Captain’ Jack Sparrow in the Pirates Of The Caribbean franchise due to the unorthodox nature, the sense of humour and how he treats his peers, not to mention the similar time settings and styles of filming. Jude Law returns as Dr. John Watson, and what a fantastic one it is! Although Watson is finally due to be married which alters his life, there is a slightly relationship between him and Holmes in the sequel as Watson is almost completely used by Holmes in this one. Watson is almost completely used by Holmes and is almost completely manipulated and patronised to Holmes' pleasure but they are still friends. So, due to the humorous and strong chemistry between Downey Jr. and Jude Law on-screen, that is all the more reason with how well they perform together as such famously told characters.

Rachel McAdams doesn’t make as much of a crucial supporting female performance in this one as there is an opening twist that occurs. So, instead we have Noomi Rapace in her first English language film after her memorable performances in the Swedish Millennium trilogy as the eccentric Lisbeth Salander. We now witness her in a very different role this time and she reveals a whole new side to her that could make her become a future Hollywood star in years to come. Seeing an appearance in general from Stephen Fry is a real treat but the fact that he portrays Sherlock’s older brother Mycroft and provides the humour and charm that Fry has been able to achieve many times over the years. Jared Harris was also very good as primary villain Professor Moriarty who is perhaps more of a manipulative villain against Holmes than Mark Strong was in the predecessor.

Overall, Sherlock Holmes: A Game Of Shadows is a very fun and entertaining popcorn flick that is more emotional, funnier, more action-packed and perhaps stronger plot-wise than its predecessor. Neither films are anything to take seriously and are both unorthodox but at the same time typical Hollywood hits and just like Mission: Impossible films, what you see is what you get with Sherlock Holmes. This sequel certainly left a cliff-hanger ending and after the events that occurred, the series really must continue with a third instalment.

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A superior sequel

Posted : 7 years, 8 months ago on 14 January 2012 06:24

"I'm knee-deep in the single most important case of my career."

Even though it competed against Avatar during its theatrical run, 2009's Sherlock Holmes grossed in excess of $500 million at the worldwide box office, making a sequel a high priority for Warner Brothers. Arriving two years after its predecessor, 2011's Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows is a well-realised follow-up that does an admirable job of ironing out the original film's creases while both retaining and building upon its strengths. It's perhaps not quite as good as it could have been, but A Game of Shadows remains meticulously crafted and fiendishly clever.

As Dr. Watson (Law) prepares to marry his fiancée Mary (Reilly), Sherlock Holmes (Downey Jr.) is hot on the trail of his greatest adversary: Oxford professor James Moriarty (Harris). A series of anarchist bombings are taking place around London, and Holmes suspects that Moriarty is involved. Following his nuptials, Watson finds himself a target in Moriarty's evil machinations, and reluctantly teams up with Holmes once again to investigate the evil mastermind. As they work their way around Europe, Holmes and Watson happen upon mysterious gypsy fortune teller Sim (Rapace), whose brother has been kidnapped by Moriarty. Holmes' older brother Mycroft (Fry) also lends his expertise to the case as they grow closer to unravelling Moriarty's wicked plot of assassinations, bombings and the potential beginning of a world war.

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows may shock viewers who haven't yet acquainted themselves with Guy Ritchie's reinvention of the gentleman detective. Ritchie has spectacularly re-invigorated the ancient hero, retaining the character's unparalleled cerebral talents while adding 21st Century action-adventure sensibilities. Rather than a reserved pipe-smoker, this Sherlock Holmes is both physically and mentally lethal; he uses his gifts of analysis to engage in fighting and death-defying acts, and Ritchie employs engaging filmmaking techniques to highlight Holmes' bustling mind. It was a creative choice that worked in 2009's Sherlock Holmes, and it makes a welcome return here. Ritchie, of course, also retained his proclivity for stylish camera movements and kinetic energy, stuffing A Game of Shadows with a large number of thrilling action set-pieces and infusing the film with drive and momentum. Furthermore, the action set-pieces do not seem dumb or forced; they flow organically out of the structure of the narrative, and Holmes is such a crafty bastard that they never seem stupid. However, a few of the fights were shot too close, too fast and too dark, and Ritchie went overboard with his use of slow motion (the forest chase in particular is borderline disgusting in its overuse of slo-mo and "bullet time").

While it has lots of action, A Game of Shadows also relies on the complex relationship that Holmes and Dr. Watson share. There's time for their relationship to grow, and their bantering is often witty and amusing. Speaking of character interaction, the film is gripping when it pits Holmes against Moriarty. The exhilarating finale involves the two going head-to-head in an intense game of chess which tests both their mental and physical strength. It's the best sequence in the film; far more effective than any of the gunfights or brawls, and it's a shame that Ritchie and his writers didn't permit more time for the pair to engage in verbal combat.

Produced on a lavish budget, the picture looks expectedly fantastic. The somewhat rickety CGI of the 2009 original has been drastically improved, and the digital effects have been combined with lavish sets and costumes which exemplify careful attention to period detail. Hans Zimmer also returned to compose the score (his standout efforts on the first film earned an Oscar), and his flavoursome musical accompaniment is a huge asset.

Robert Downey Jr. is visibly more comfortable in the role of Sherlock Holmes here, and it's clear that he has found his groove. Downey's accent feels astonishingly lived-in, he oozes charisma, and he generally suits this vision of the character to the ground. Jude Law, meanwhile, is back here as Dr. Watson. Law's contributions should not be overlooked, as he's a sturdy and focused sidekick for Downey. Also terrific is Jared Harris, whose performance as Professor Moriarty is exceptional. Harris' biggest strength is the way that he can deliver menacing dialogue with chilling restraint while simultaneously convincing us that he's capable of committing heinous acts of crime. Another newcomer is Stephen Fry, whose performance as Mycroft is well-judged, charming and amusing. Noomi Rapace is not quite as good, but she's serviceable as the gypsy fortune teller who helps Holmes and Watson in their investigation. Rounding out the main players is Kelly Reilly and Rachel McAdams who briefly show up to reprise their roles of Mary Watson and Irene Adler (respectively).

While Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows is an exciting, funny and intelligent action-adventure, it's not exactly the most soulful or substance-laden blockbuster you'll see. Ritchie's storytelling is admittedly still a bit garbled as well, though his abilities have markedly improved since the original movie. Even with its flaws considered, though, this is a strong sequel. With it having been infused with the same flavour as 2009's Sherlock Holmes, 2011's A Game of Shadows is a cosy companion piece for its predecessor. Further instalments are practically inevitable, and that's fine, because this new Sherlock Holmes franchise is shaping up to be something special.


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Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (2011) review

Posted : 7 years, 9 months ago on 20 December 2011 07:55

And here we are again, yet another sequel of a movie that did so well the first time. Guess what? It is an excellent sequel. You simply put two elements, and not necessarily two opposite elements, and the chemical reaction between them causes an enormous explosion on the BIG screen.

I saw the trailers and I was skeptical in the beginning but this was one movie I wouldn't miss watching on big screen. Once again, the production values are top-notch. The effects are outstanding, and the cinematography is top-notch.

Downey and Law have a solid on-screen chemistry, while Fry does a terrific job as comic relief. Casting Noomi Rapace for Simza's character came as a shocker to me after watching her perform in The Girl with The Dragon Tattoo trilogy (the original Swedish version of the newly English remake). However, I enjoyed watching her in English.

In the novels, Holmes was skilled as a pugilist and excellent at weapons handling. Fortunately, Ritchie realized this both in the first and second movie which is something rare, given his filmography. As with almost all Guy Ritchie films, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows is technically strong, with the look and feel of the film, consistent from that of the first, being one of the winning elements in my books.

Incredibly detailed and intricately crafted, the sets, costumes, CG and production values are all top notch in transporting us back to an era that once was. The multiple flashback scenes that showcase how we get to where we are at the point of the narrative, and those events that play out in Holmes' mind, were all done with precision as we cue in to his thought process, and one of the plus points is that of Moriarty's input at times when it got boiled down to an intense battle of minds. And not forgetting Hans Zimmer's powerful score that's a natural companion piece from the first film.

There is one element I somehow can't get over with and that is how similar this movie is to another movie we have watched and maybe forgotten some time ago. Does something wild and out of the West rings a bell? I know it might not be a good and honest comparison, but there are similarities like train scene, one character dressing up as a woman(Kevin Kline in Wild, Wild West and Robert Downey Jr in Sherlock Holmes), big guns, someone naked in front of a group or a woman and so on. However, this doesn't mean those similarities reduces the value of the movie. It is just something I noticed.

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The game is afoot

Posted : 7 years, 9 months ago on 16 December 2011 11:30

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.

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