Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows


STARRING: Robert Downey Jr, Jude Law, Noomi Rapace, Jared Harris, Rachel McAdams

Master of disguise: Downey and McAdams

The 1887 literary creation of Scottish physician Arthur Conan Doyle, Sherlock Holmes is a London-based private detective and a master of observation and disguise. What his tweedy persona has to do with the campy swagger of Downey (as Sherlock) and the kinetic stylings of director Guy Ritchie is anybody’s guess. But no matter: the flamboyant sleuth and his dear, dear friend, Dr John Watson (Law), are back, with their combined sights set on dreaded scholarly wonk and master crim Professor James Moriarty (Harris). Make no mistake, Moriarty is Sociopathy, Inc., and having dispensed with Holmes’s sweetie (McAdams), he’s now gunning for newlywed Watson — and a full-scale war.


Ritchie (who also directed the 2009 Sherlock Holmes circus) comes at all this at his preferred hyperdrive, roping in Rapace as a broody gypsy, piling on the political intrigue, dialling up the drama, thundering out the Sturm und Drang soundtrack, zooshing the crackpot costumes for Downey and moving everyone along through stagy confrontations and fabulous scenery with barely a pause for breath. He left me spinning between Not Again and All Too Much, and that’s just where I expected to end up.