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Sherlock Holmes: A Game Of Shadows – movie review

Robert Downey Jr reprises his quirky take on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s sleuth in Guy Ritchie’s all-action sequel.
What’s the story?
Holmes and Watson are in pursuit of a dastardly criminal mastermind intent on sparking global war. Has the pride of Baker Street met his match?
What did we think?
Though Downey Jr’s Sherlock remains an acquired taste, this rip-roaring follow-up is an improvement on the original. The main disappointment is Noomi Rapace, who lacks the feisty cool she showed in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.
For Bond it’s Blofeld. For Batman it’s the Joker. When it comes to criminal nemeses, however, they don’t come much more formidable than Professor James Moriarty, the archenemy of Sherlock Holmes and the benchmark against which all geniuses should be judged.
Last seen as a fey prankster in the BBC’s Sherlock, Moriarty reverts to more standard guise in Guy Ritchie’s follow-up to his 2009 success: a dapper, urbane academic who hides his sinister intentions behind an elegant veneer. Rumour has it that Daniel Day-Lewis was tapped for the role. But Jared Harris does a perfectly serviceable job in his stead, countering Robert Downey Jr’s typically flamboyant Holmes with a sleek essay in measured menace.
When he’s not around, though, A Game of Shadows has a more playful tone that is in keeping with its star’s offbeat delivery and a fast-moving plot that takes him and Jude Law’s long-suffering Watson on an eventful jaunt across mainland Europe. Big bangs and spectacular stand-offs keep the tempo high while Stephen Fry adds to the comedy quotient as Holmes’ pompous brother Mycroft. A shame, though, that Noomi Rapace isn’t better used as Sim, the gypsy fortune teller who joins our heroes on their travels.

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