The first Sherlock Holmes was impressively entertaining, but there was little about it which wasn’t predictable. Despite having a few stylistic choices throughout the film stand out, it seemed the type of blockbuster which any director could have helmed. Guy Ritchie returned as director for the sequel, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, and he seems to have become more comfortable with the idea of adding his own style to the series. This is a strange film for a blockbuster, which makes it all the more fascinating to watch. From hyper-kinetic visuals to a non-stop action storyline, this is a film which clearly belongs in Ritchie’s filmography.
It is difficult to know even what is going on, as the film seems to begin in the middle of an already developing storyline. Sherlock Holmes (Robert Downey Jr.) is amidst an investigation against his greatest foe, the ingeniously clever criminal Professor Moriarty (Jared Harris). This all happens to occur as Dr. Watson (Jude Law) is getting married and leaving on his honeymoon, which is interrupted when they are targeted for an attack to help distract Holmes from his investigation. This investigation also involves a gypsy (Noomi Rapace) whose brother may be involved in an assassination plot.
Though it is not always clear where the storyline is going, the one thing consistent throughout this film series is the relationship between Holmes and Watson. The first film felt much more like a buddy action comedy, and this time around the ties between the two seem even stronger. If I didn’t know better, I would say that this is a love story between the two of them. From the fact that Holmes interrupts the honeymoon dressed as a woman to a later scene where the brilliant detective takes a moment to dance with Watson, these two seem to share more of a connection than ever was shared with the Irene Adler character played by Rachel McAdams.
The special effects and visuals in general have also seen an upgrade in this sequel, partially due to the fact that the storyline never seems to slow down. There are more than a few extremely impressive action sequences which are further enhanced by the high definition presentation of Blu-ray. The combo pack includes the Blu-ray disc along with a DVD and Ultraviolet copies of the movie. The Blu-ray has the option of the “Maximum Movie Mode,” which includes storyboards, picture-in-picture featurettes, photo galleries and more, all with Robert Downey Jr. as a guide.