Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows: Movie Review

Dec 20, 2011 | 2011 Articles, Lorie Lewis Ham, Movies, Mysteryrat's Maze

by Lorie Lewis Ham

Special coupon for Dinuba Platinum Theatre at the end of this review.

My daughter insisted we see the new Sherlock Holmes movie because of Robert Downey Jr.—she adores him and I have to say he is a favorite actor of mine as well. Originally, she was to be the one to review this movie but it would have mostly been filled with praise and adoration for him—which isn’t bad, just not really a review of the movie itself so here I am.

I was introduced to a love of mysteries through Sherlock Holmes as a teenager and have been an ardent fan ever since! This is NOT Sherlock Holmes. Yes, there are pieces of Sherlock Holmes in the story including characters and parts of storylines, and some of the characters are fairly accurate, but the portrayal of Holmes himself is not. Now this is not a slam on Robert Downey Jr., he did a wonderful job of portraying Holmes as the makers of this film wrote him—I have read more than once that their desire was to interest a younger generation in this character by turning him into an action hero—but does that really work when it’s not really that character they are presenting to them? This “Holmes” spends far more time fighting than using that wonderful mind of his. Yes this Holmes does have some resemblance to the real one—he is arrogant, crazy, and when he’s not too busy fighting he can be brilliant—but that’s about as far as it goes. Now don’t get me wrong here—had they decided to make a film about a character “like” Holmes and presented him this way I likely would have loved this movie. This has been done successfully so many times—Dr. House on House, Patrick Jane on the Mentalist, Monk, and to a certain degree even Spock on Star Trek. But instead they simply decided to remake Holmes and for me it doesn’t work.

Now for the things I like about this movie—Jude Law’s portrayal of Watson is pretty spot on, as is Holmes brother Mycroft and Holmes archenemy Professor Moriarty. They do a decent job of using pieces of different Holmes stories including his battle against Moriarty which is the focus of the movie, and his final solution to the problem—which for die hard Holmes fans is foreshadowed near the beginning of the movie. I really liked the scenes that showed Holmes and Watson love for each other and the final scenes of the movie were very well done and probably my favorite of the entire movie, except for the anticlimactic last minutes. The action was good too if you put aside the fact this is Sherlock Holmes, and Holmes disguises were a riot.

So, if you are not a big Sherlock Holmes fan like me you will enjoy this movie. It’s fun with plenty of action, tension and relationship. If you are a Holmes fan, try to leave all memory of the real Sherlock at the door and you’ll likely have fun as well. Hopefully, you’ll have more success in doing that than I did. I must admit the fact they jumped so far ahead in the storyline does make me wonder if they are only planning to do three of these movies—I suppose we shall see. Well the Game Is Sort of Afoot! And perhaps on some level the producers of this film have succeeded in what they wanted to do as both my teens enjoyed it—however, I think they have sold this generation short as they enjoy the “real” Sherlock Holmes as well. And to be fair to this movie, I did read another critic say that movie portrayals of Holmes have seldom been very accurate and that really is true. For a better, yet still modern day, portrayal of Holmes, check out the new BBC series Sherlock.

Sherlock Holmes is now playing at Dinuba Platinum Theatres 6. Showtimes can be found on their website.

Print this coupon and enjoy a special discount for Kings River Life readers only!

Lorie Lewis Ham is our Editor-in-Chief and an enthusiastic contributor to various sections, coupling her journalism experience with her connection to the literary and entertainment worlds. Explore Lorie’s mystery writing at Mysteryrat’s Closet.


  1. I had a similar review from my mum but she is the biggest holmes fan in the world so I wasnt letting her review hold too much weight…… Maybe she was right (although I will not admit that to her)!

  2. I knew I as in an alternate-Holmes universe when Sherlock and Mycroft referred to each other as Mikey and Shirley. OMG

  3. This is only ONE Sherlock Holmes, and that would be Jeremy Brett! Jude Law does make a pretty darned good Dr. Watson and Jared Harris (Richard Harris’ son!) wasn’t too bad as Prof. Moriarty (if Moriarty were to look exactly like US Grant, that is!). Noomi Rapace was much weaker as the female lead than Rachael McAdams. All in all, the 1st movie was much better.

  4. You are so right! There will never be another Jeremy Brett!
    Lorie Ham



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