Directed by Guy Ritchie, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows is the sequel to the 2009 hit, Sherlock Holmes.

Robert Downey Jr. returns as the brilliant and funny Sherlock Holmes, and Jude Law resumes his perfectly played role as Doctor Watson. Holmes is on a quest to uncover the person behind a series of crimes. He comes to the conclusion that it is all the doing of his nemesis, Professor James Moriarty (Jared Harris).

Holmes, of course, relies on the aid of his comrade Watson. However, Watson is about to get married and has no time to engage in a long, and probably daunting and dangerous, investigation. He refuses to get involved, which leaves Holmes disappointed and put off.

Not one to take no for an answer, Holmes is relentless and begins to pursue Watson in an attempt to lure him back into the investigation. Of course, with Sherlock Holmes, plans always go haywire; he ditches Watson's wife in the process, enlists gypsy Madam Simza (Noomi Rapace) and takes them on an unplanned (or was it planned all along?) trip all around Europe.

The chemistry between Holmes and Watson (or should we say Downey Jr. and Law) is almost tangible. They have great onscreen banter, and the dialogue jumps smoothly from one to the other. Their performance is superb, as was every other actor in the movie. Sherlock's brother, Mycroft (Stephen Fry) also adds support to the already funny cast.

The script is funny, smart and interesting. The witty banter between the two detectives is, in my humble opinion, the best thing about the movie. It is important to note that even those who haven't seen the first movie can still watch this one with ease, as the events are all new, and not purely connected to the prequel.  The action scenes are indeed significant highlights of the film, and raise the bar for future action movies.

There were many comedic scenes such as an action sequence on a train, an incident with gypsies and a truly hilarious one involving a pony.

Needless to say, the set design and costume design are remarkable, where one truly feels that they've been transported to a different century.

That being said, at times, it seems there is much more dialogue than needed. I would have preferred less talk and more action. However, what truly disappointed me was the underuse of the fantastic graphics. I felt that the director didn’t take full advantage of them until the very end, where the biggest action sequence takes place and the graphics and cinematography go into full force.

Verdict: 3.5 out of 5 stars. Even though I enjoyed its prequel more, A Game of Shadows is nevertheless an entertaining film worth watching. Watch out for the ending: highly unexpected, but definitely exceptional!

–    Alya Al-Othman

Images: Official Website

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