The second Sherlock Holmes film directed by Guy Ritchie–“Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows“–recently appeared in theaters, starring Robert Downey, Jr. and Jude Law as Holmes and Watson, respectively. While some critics have not liked the more action-oriented approach toward Holmes’s character that Downey brings to the role, I’ve accepted it for what it is and concur with Roger Ebert in the overall positive assessment of this second installment and find that it offers a reasonably satisfying blend of the cerebral and the physical. (Though I should note that I really prefer the somewhat updated, yet still rather traditional, life that Cumberbatch and Freeman breathe into the roles in the BBC’s brilliantly done Sherlock series.)
Especially valuable are the dramatic scenes where Holmes and Moriarty, in classic form, match wits. There is a wonderfully set chess match between the two that parallels the action. One of the things I like most about this film takes us back to a theme that Mr. Pond explored in an earlier post on villians, doubles, and shadows. The conflict between good and evil without is palpably present, as is the parallel conflict within as part of the human condition. Moriarty reminds Holmes of both just when Holmes thinks he’s on the brink of “winning this round.” The entire film is, indeed, a “game of shadows” both in content and visual representation.
I’ll say no more, since I’m keen to hear what all of you fellow Sherlockians think. Have you seen the film? Liked it? Disliked it? Don’t plan to see it? Why?