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Thursday, 29 December 2011

Keep Calm and Carry On, Watson

After a good, solid first outing by Guy Ritchie featuring excellent cut-and-thrust chemistry between Downey Jr. and Law, and a suitably mysterious and involving plot, I was unsure what to expect from the sequel, but there is no dip in form here, ‘A Game of Shadows’ is excellent, its canvas is the whole of Europe, Moriarty is on the move and the game is afoot! The action is well-paced, Holmes and Watson’s relationship is under strain and darkness and daring abound as a spate of bombings shakes Europe.

The introduction of Stephen Fry is inspired; he provides an excellent second foil for Downey Jr. and also a degree of gravitas that was missing before. Noomi Rapace is superbly cast, a pity she was not given more to do, but excellent to see her in a big circulation movie, hopefully more to come. The stand-out performance however is Jared Harris, oh how different from his meek and mild-mannered role as Lane Pryce in ‘Mad Men’, his Moriarty is superb; not a blustering caricature of evil, thank goodness, but the best kind of villain, a super-intelligent man of strong desires and no morality. The scenes that he shares with Holmes are riveting, none more so than the last one, which is superb cinema.

To conclude, despite the very tacky strap line ‘A Game of Shadows’ IS bigger, it IS better and it IS funnier, but not at the expense of an excellent Gothic action thriller with a tremendous denouement. Go and see it on the big screen NOW, TODAY! then see it again online and as a rental, fantastic stuff.

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