For an avid Sherlock Holmes fan, it would have been difficult to digest the acrobatic, hyper active avatar of Robert Downey Jr. in the first edition of what now is a two movie old franchise which takes the viewers through the life and adventures of one of histories dearest fictional detective, Sherlock Holmes. The director Guy Ritchie, just like the more celebrated contemporary Chris Nolan have taken the fictional superhero out of the shelf and interpreted in his own way and the interpretation, I must say, is as good as the trilogy of the Dark Lord. Though not based on any of the stories written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the first movie was enough to satiate the hungry fans of Sherlock Holmes with the combination of dark presentation and smart actors with witty dialogues. When it comes to the second installment, the events of which takes place after an year of the first one, the plot thickens with anarchy or organized crime helmed by certain Prof. James Moriarty seeps in. Also, the viewers get to see the cool camaraderie which was one of the highlight of the first movie becomes more strong between the lead characters.
Game Of Shadows also follows the same idiom of action cuts classically put together to create a fast paced, visually stunning film just like the first installment. Some of the action sequences which include a train fight (a war rather than a fight) with Holmes' unconventional act against Watson's newly wed wife(“I timed it perfectly” makes my smile even now), a forest escape, Holmes' attempt to downsize an enemy whom he visualizes as a primate bird, are absolutely mesmerizing. Shot in dense, damp, depressing and dark London's foggy weather, the visuals show you only as much as you need to see. Truly a game of silhouettes and shadows. The visual appeal will not leave you disappointed nor will the plot which travels all across the globe and climaxes in a peace summit in Switzerland. A word about the dialogues: Arresting, humourous and laced with Downey's characteristic sardonic wit.
Seen as an action flick, like the first movie, Game of Shadows too is an enjoyable, edge of the seat entertainer. But since the hero of the movie is Sherlock Holmes and many of us like me have grown up reading about the laid back but intellectual scholar and loved to follow his deduction when crimes occurred and solutions were needed. For, Sherlock Holmes deductions were beyond the realm of normal intelligence. But here we hardly get to see Holmes playing Rene or Moran even for a moment and showing us how he reaches conclusions and places. I must say, when in the theater and watching this epic size adventure, none of these thoughts pass through the mind.
Performance wise, I must say it is one Downey Jr.'s best. His insomniac expressions flirting with insanity and the one liners makes him the best suited to play the character. Jude Law with the restrained performance is an adequate folly to Downey's exuberance. It was said earlier that Brad Pitt might be roped in to play Prof. Moriarty's role and the sheer expectation that news brought would be the reason why I felt Prof. Moriarty's character was bit weak.. However, the best scenes, other that the well shot action scenes, were involving Moriarty.
It is a must watch film for all the action movie buffs and Sherly(as Microft calls Sherlock Holmes) lovers. A fast paced film to set the tone for the summer of action block busters and a perfect start to the new year with the perfect super hero till the Dark knight rises....!