Susan Granger's review of 'Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows'
Picking up where the 2009 film left off, Dr. John Watson (Jude Law) recalls his "last case" with genius detective Sherlock Holmes (Robert Downey Jr.), whose manic, eccentric behavior verges on psychotic
It's 1891 when Strasbourg and Vienna are rocked by seemingly unrelated series of bombings, escalating tensions between France and Germany. Then an Indian cotton tycoon succumbs to a scandal, a Chinese opium trader suffers an apparent overdose, an American steel magnate dies and seductive Irene Adler (Rachel McAdams) once again surfaces as a courier. Holmes suspects that these seemingly disparate events are the work of a criminal mastermind, diabolical Oxford Professor James Moriarty (Jared Harris), who habitually feeds feral pigeons in parks, when he's not investing in munitions factories -- and the game is afoot.
Complicating matters is Watson's marriage to his beloved Mary (Kelly Reilly) and their departure for a honeymoon in Brighton. But plans for a romantic holiday go awry when Holmes unexpectedly turns up in drag in their train compartment, tossing Mary overboard so the detective duo can pursue conspiracy clues gleaned from a mysterious Gypsy fortune teller (Noomi Rapace from the Swedish "Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" trilogy). While Mary's rescued by Holmes' older brother, Mycroft (Stephen Fry), who works in the Foreign Office, Watson and Holmes embark on a merry chase through Europe that takes them from an orchard of prized peaches and onto the stage of the Paris Opera during "Don Giovanni" before culminating at a diplomatic gathering in a precariously perched castle straddling Reichenbach Falls in the Swiss Alps.
Reinventing Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's iconic detective, the husband-and-wife writing team of Kieran and Michele Mulroney set a frenzied pace for this fun-filled "last adventure," which director Guy Ritchie cleverly juxtaposes with slow-motion action. It's a rollicking romp that proves the crime-fighting partners' relationship has not yet runs its course.
On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows" is a solidly stylish, sassy 7, positioning Downey and Law as the bromance of the year.