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Sherlock Holmes: A Game Of Shadows (2011)
Friday, December 16, 2011
Intense sequences of violence and action, and some drug material
Robert Downey Jr., Jude Law, Noomi Rapace, Jared Harris, Eddie Marsan, Stephen Fry
Michele Mulroney, Kieran Mulroney
Sherlock Holmes (Robert Downey Jr.) has always been the smartest man in the room...until now. There is a new criminal mastermind at large—Professor Moriarty (Jared Harris)—and not only is he Holmes' intellectual equal, but his capacity for evil, coupled with a complete lack of conscience, may actually give him an advantage over the renowned detective. When the Crown Prince of Austria is found dead, the evidence, as construed by Inspector Lestrade (Eddie Marsan), points to suicide. But Sherlock Holmes deduces that the prince has been the victim of murder—a murder that is only one piece of a larger and much more portentous puzzle, designed by Professor Moriarty. The cunning Moriarty is always one step ahead of Holmes as he spins a web of death and destruction—all part of a greater plan that, if he succeeds, will change the course of history.
Sherlock Holmes: A Game Of Shadows (2011) | Review
I remember it well. It wasn't all that long after the conclusion of one of our most successful cases. It is never easy to follow-up something like that, and yet Holmes felt that he was equal to the task. Of course the key to following up any successful previous endeavor is to go bigger, or at least that's a theory that some hold. Holmes certainly seemed to think it was the proper way to proceed, and so in December of 2011, he embarked on a truly globe-trotting case that had as much spectacle and substance as any of our previous adventures. In fact, it was hard for me to choose which of these recent cases was more enjoyable, so I won't choose but leave that selection to you, dear reader.
Part of what made this Game of Shadows case so compelling was the fact that at the center of it was none other than Professor James Moriarty, Holmes' equal in every way except when it comes to matters of conscience. Imagine what Holmes would be like, with all his brilliance, all his genius, all of his amazing ability to quickly observe and understand any situation or person, but without his inclination, his compulsion, to fight the corrupt, the depraved, and the sinister. I shudder to imagine what he should be like were that the case, and hence, I shudder whenever I think of Moriarty; for that is exactly who he is. Whenever you see him, his obvious intelligence and refinement is what you observe first. In this way he's not all that different from Holmes, for you can almost sense the intellect whirling about, catching hold of those minute things many of us miss in passing observation. But beyond that veneer there is just a hint of a feral, sinister energy. A violent evil that is only barely contained by his composed exterior and which might erupt at any time. Oh, Moriarty made for a most fascinating and dangerous foe.
His plan this time out, which I'm sure should come as no surprise, was nothing short of brilliant. It propelled Holmes from the comfort of Baker street and across the continent in a game that became as much a personal as it was an intellectual contest. I admit to some reluctance at joining him once again due to my marriage, but Holmes (as he so often did) masterfully arranged that such an event should no way impede me joining on this adventure. Of course, how could it be otherwise? I may overly flatter myself, but I think Holmes isn't quite himself when I'm not around. Oh, we bicker back and forth at times like an old-married couple, it's true. And I suppose at times it can even be quite juvenile, but there is an energy to our rapport and a silliness that I think is infectious. I don't know why it should be, but the chemistry between is us what makes these cases so enjoyable and memorable, at least to me. Indeed, I'm lucky (if at times not a bit exasperated) to have such a friend, and this case certainly gave me some key moments to reflect on that very fact.
I must also say that this was perhaps one of our most physically taxing adventures. Perhaps in reading our past cases you aren't fully aware of just what an excellent fighter Holmes is. I admit at times it almost seems out of character for him, but one can't deny the thrill of seeing him in action. One key moment in particular stands out to me as I recall this case: a chase through a forest as we escaped the clutches of Moriarty. Bullets were flying, mortars were exploding, trees were shattering. There were times where it almost seemed to be taking place in slow motion. Yet in those frozen moments I had time to reflect on the visceral beauty of that deadly chase... hmmph... indeed, it is hard to forget. In any event, this case was one that pushed to our physical as well as our intellectual limits.
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