A Game Of Shadows

Let’s all get on our knees right now and thank the gods that Guy Ritchie divorced Madonna. Or vice versa. Or whatever. The point is, he’s rid of her. The air is clear of that blonde control and 50-something sinuous stink. Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows is proof of a man back in form with the force of a thousand suns, totally free of all that pop shit and up to his eyelashes in perverse artistry.

Even fans of the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle books, those that are still alive, would agree that this second film – in what is being marketed as a trilogy – is possibly the best rendition and realisation of the character. Let me be a little more clear.

The character of Sherlock Holmes was, at the time of writing (we’re talking Victorian era, people), a man ahead of his peers. He was a rock star, but the kind bordering on autism, a man so intrigued by DNA, forensics and psychological profiling, so immersed in the processes of catching a killer or criminal, that everything fell to the wayside.

To keep up with his brain’s inner workings he took to cocaine, which only enhanced his egotism and attention to detail but killed off his sexual drive. His hard-on took place in the mind, and what got his thoughts throbbing at the size and thickness of a hairspray-can was the pursuit of the end result. Doyle’s books always had Holmes taking on a case even though he’d already figured out the solution at inception. But, there was always one man who kept him at the bleeding edge of his gift, and that was Professor Moriarty, the quintessential nemesis. A man smarter, more motivated, single-minded and bent on destruction that Holmes could never really get his head around Moriarty’s motives. But then again, some people just want to see the world burn.

Good trilogies know that the second film must be the heart and soul of the series. Someone we like must die. Evil must be overwhelming. We must not know how it will end. Ritchie brought in writing couple Kieren and Michele Mulroney to do the job and they nailed it. Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows has one hell of a plot, but it’s not at all convoluted or strained. Holmes (Robert Downey Jr) and his sidekick, Doctor Watson (Jude Law), run to or from trouble throughout the film’s entirety in an effort to stop Moriarty (Jared Harris). They even get help from a gypsy (played expertly by the butch Noomi Rapace) and it never lets up.

It’s pretty simple really, Moriarty wants to bring the world to war and he wants to supply the weapons – to all sides. Some might say I gave you a spoiler, but the film is not about that. It’s about details, and characterisations, and mind-blowing action set-ups. That’s all I’m willing to say on the movie, because you’ve got to experience it. It’s a powerful piece of filmmaking and the best way to watch it is via Blu-Ray. There’s everything here, from the making of, to audio commentary, and the crispness is jaw-dropping great. Just go out and buy it already.