Movie Review: Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows

It really is all there in the books.

Or at least the parts about Sherlock Holmes.

Many have dismissed the latest rendition of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s eminent detective as a poorly reimaged action hero using the name to sell tickets to the latest SFX-filled blockbuster. They say that Robert Downey Jr.’s detective is nothing like the classic deducting detective.

They couldn’t be more wrong, but it’s not necessarily their fault. For decades, we have read Holmes in school and watched Basil Rathbone’s stiff, tea-tottling version fill our minds with “Elementary, dear Watsons” and tweed hunters’ caps.

However, if you read the books…the real books, referred to as the unexpurgated editions…that were not toned down for children, students and British Victorian sensibilities, you learn that Holmes was a bare-knuckles brawler, champion stick fighter, master swords man and a rather tough customer to deal with. He was well versed in the art of disguise and even experimented with illicit drugs (and this is not just an allusion or inference; it’s quite blatant in the unexpurgated text). He has been known to get bored and shoot patriotic slogans into the walls of his Baker Street apartment.

In fact, if you just read a couple of the original Holmes stories, you can’t help by agree that Downey has the character dead on.

Of course, not everything is dead-to-rights in the book. The story for the new movie, A Game of Shadows, is quite new, although it incorporates several aspects of classic Holmes stories into it.

And admittedly, it does get a bit more action that the books, but to be honest, it does a great job in entertaining with a spectacular blend of stunts, special effects and wit.

In the new movie, Holmes goes up against his classic nemesis, Professor James Moriarty (Jared Harris). Equal to Holmes’ unique intellect, Moriarty puts his genius to nefarious purposes, seeking to start and profit from the first “industrialized war” (about 10 years before Germany does it for real in WWI).

Only Holmes sees this madness and teams up with the good Doctor Watson (Jude Law) to track down the numerous clues and save Europe from an all-encompassing war.

The movie is great fun and consistently entertaining, but I did feel one thing was wrong with the film.
It felt like it should have been the third film. From introducing Holmes already neck deep in tracking down Moriarty to the climactic ending over a waterfall, it just seems like we missed part of the story. It doesn’t make A Game of Shadows any less enjoyable, but it leaves you wanting more…more that you should have already watched.

I want to thank the staff and management at Carmike 12 in the Myrtle Beach Mall for making my movie-going experiences a great one. For more information on Carmike 12 and current listings, go to

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