Blog #40: Movie Review: Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows

It amazes me.  Robert Downey, Jr. was for quite a while known for his drug problems, and then when he got that taken care of, being unable to work because insurance companies didn’t want to cover him.

Now he’s Tony Stark, Iron Man, and Sherlock Holmes.  I guess it’s true that people can make the most of second chances.

A Game of Shadows is awesome.  Jude Law gives another memorable performance as Watson, and Jared Harris and Paul Anderson are wonderful as the diabolical Professor James Moriarty and his henchman Colonel Sebastian Moran.

It includes typical scenes of Holmes working out things as only he can, and some amazing special effects.  I love the use of slow motion in fight scenes and with explosions so you can really see what’s happening, where it’s often hard to at full speed.

You will love this movie.  Go see it.

Spoilers ahead.

I loved nearly everything about this story, right up until the very end.  If you know anything about the original Holmes stories, you know that Holmes and Moriarty fell (apparently) to their deaths from Reichenbach Falls.  Now, of course, Holmes was later revealed to have survived, as they do at the end of this film.  (And brilliantly I might add, with Watson finishing writing the story of Sherlock Holmes and typing “The End” and receiving the breathing apparatus, that was shown earlier in the movie, in the mail.  Knowing what it means, he then leaves his office to find out who delievered it, and we find Holmes was hiding in his office using the “urban camouflage” he had been developing.  He goes to the typewriter and adds a question mark after “The End”.  Brilliant.)

Here’s my problem.  To me, every great hero needs an archenemy.  They don’t need to always face them, but their specter should always hang over the hero.  All the great ones had it.  Harry Potter had Lord Voldemort, Optimus Prime had Megatron, Captain Picard had Q, Captain Sisko had Gul Dukat, Mr. Fantastic had Doctor Doom, Spider-Man had the Green Goblin, Batman had the Joker, and I could go on an on.

Moriarty has become known as Holmes archenemy, yet he only appeared in one Holmes story, “The Final Problem,” though it is revealed that he was been behind much of the criminal activity that Holmes had been thwarting.  While it is possible that in a third or fourth film, we could find out that Moriarty is still alive, it would have been nice to have it teased at the end, especially after making a point of setting him up in the first movie.  So, I guess we’ll see if Moriarty is still alive or not, but I hope he is.

One more thing I loved plot-wise.  I’ve always enjoyed stories where they use fictional events to alter history to what it actually was.  One of my favorite examples of this was the episode of Quantum Leap entitled “Lee Harvey Oswald,” where Al believes it is Sam’s mission to save JFK from assassination, only to realize that it was actually to save Jackie Kennedy who died in the “original history.”  That is precisely the plot of A Game of Shadows (without the time travel).

Essentially, Moriarty is trying to start World War I in 1891 having positioned himself to sell weapons, medical supplies, and nearly everything else to both sides, hence getting rich off the war.  Moriarty prophetically says that it will happen one day.  He just wants to be the one to do it.  Essentially by thwarting Moriarty’s plans, Holmes puts history on the track we know it to have taken.  I love that.

Anyway, this one was great.  I can’t wait for the Blu-Ray so I can see it again.

Thanks for reading!

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About lmb3

I’m 36 years old, and I work in network tech support for a public school system. I am a huge fan of Star Trek, Transformers, Harry Potter, and Marvel Comics as well as numerous other fandoms. I’m a big sports fan, especially the Boston Red Sox and the New England Patriots. I collect toys (mostly Transformers but other stuff too), comic books, and Red Sox baseball cards. I watch an obscene amount of television and love going to the movies. I am hopelessly addicted to Wizard Rock and I write Harry Potter Fanfiction, though these days I am working on a couple of different original YA novels.
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