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Sherlock Holmes: a Game of Shadows is driven by Robert Downey Jr.’s witty remarks and all of the clever tricks stuffed up his sleeve. As Sherlock Holmes, Downey fabricates a likable yet geniusly annoying character whose psychic powers spin a tale worthy of its filming by Guy Ritchie. In the summer of 2010 Ritchie was presumably the established director of yet another comic book turned movie, Lobo (scheduled to air late 2013) but Warner Brothers reclaimed him for Sherlock Holmes, hoping for another chart busting success similar to the first film (2009).

In Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows Ritchie strongly used slow motion to his advantage. By capturing a greater emotion not generally exemplified in fights, he brought to life a new way of approaching combative scenes. Sherlock (Downey Jr.) and Watson (Jude Law) inched along sprinting briskly, bullets hurtling by; in moments like these, emotions are predominantly vacant; a scream over a shoulder, or a snarl. But rarely an actual facial expression that one would recognize is illustrated.

The scenery and sets of Sherlock Holmes: a Game of Shadows bend this classic literary character turned superhero movie into an historical fiction film. Throughout the film and around Sherlock and his day to day life we are encompassed in beautiful surroundings. Every single character is adorned in handsome attire. I found that in watching I could not help but admire even the tiniest fashionable details, like a beautiful ring on a gypsy finger, or a pair of shoes straight out of the 19th century. Sherlock Holmes was initially thought of as a smart, ingenious man who although solved mysteries with his keen knowledge of absolutely everything, was always proper and respectable. Guy Ritchie has taken this to a different sort of level, instead of cleanly and proper, Sherlock is often seen unshaven and inebriated. Downey Jr. portrays this role well, but I feel this adaptation does not do our original Sherlock Holmes justice.

The film, although entertaining and cleverly presumptuous did not lack faults or implausibilities. An illustration of this would be a scene I predominantly recall as flawed in which Sherlock (Downey Jr.) and Watson (Jude Law) were sitting on the edge of a moving train, prior to a large fight ending in an explosion that had taken off many of the train cars. The train was still moving and was smoking horrendously. It was far-fetched and questionable whether or not the train would one; still be moving after all of the accidents that had taken place. And two; that they would actually be having a comprehensible conversation while sitting on the edge of it. In the middle there was a confusion of scenes including unexplained movement between Paris and Switzerland that lacked a sufficient explanation of the connection between settings, the film needed to establish a transition of timing to sufficiently depict the story.

The film’s most successful element was Guy Ritchie’s ability to transform and uncover a classic literary character into an adapted Hollywood superhero movie which becomes a brilliant historical fiction film. Thoroughly enjoy the beautifully detailed sets and scenes, but don’t look too deep, the implausibilities (I would suggest closing your eyes for a while somewhere between Paris and Switzerland) are not entirely made up for by the intriguing details that create the backbone of the film.



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