Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows

Robert Downey Jr's manic, mischievous, unexpectedly kick-ass hero returns for a sequel that is even more knockabout and irreverent than its predecessor

Robert Downey Jr’s manic, mischievous, unexpectedly kick-ass hero returns for a sequel that is even more knockabout and irreverent than its predecessor.

However, the offbeat touches that seemed charmingly quirky first time around are now in danger of turning irritating.¬† Downey Jr’s Holmes spends so much time prancing around in a variety of disguises in the film’s first half that it’s a wonder the plot ever gets going.

When the story gets going, it turns into a rip-roaring adventure¬† revolving around Holmes’ efforts to thwart his criminal nemesis, Professor Moriarty (Jared Harris), who is scheming to propel Europe into war through a wave of bombings and assassinations across the continent.

Along the way, director Guy Ritchie stages the action with rumbustious vigour, giving Downey Jr’s Bond-like Holmes the chance to deploy as much brawn as brain. Jude Law has plenty of moments to shine, too, as Holmes’ put-upon Watson and Harris supplies quietly sinister, understated villainy.

Playing a gypsy fortune-teller who may or may not hold a vital clue to solving the case, Noomi Rapace makes a strong impression, as does an excellent Stephen Fry as Holmes’ smarter brother, Mycroft, who spends almost half his screen time naked (naughty bits artfully masked).

This is over-indulgent, then, but it’s fast-paced, rollicking good fun – and there’s a standout sequence when our heroes come under attack in a forest.

 

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