Holmes (Robert Downey Jr.) and Watson (Jude Law) are back in this sequel to Sherlock Holmes, and in my opinion, they’re even better than ever. In this latest installment, Holmes and Watson are up against Moriarty, the mysterious professor whose diabolical genius is a danger not just to the daring duo, but to the entire Western world. Moriarty’s complex and insidious schemes are so far-reaching that they might just set a world war in motion if Holmes and Watson aren’t up to the challenge of stopping him.
Simply put, this movie is a joyride from beginning to end. The audience is always kept guessing, and the action never stops. As the film continues, it is made increasingly apparent that practically everything Holmes sees, does, and experiences is connected, even the smallest details. That factor, in and of itself, is proof positive of the gift for storytelling that the film’s creators possess.
But the fun doesn’t stop there—one of the most striking features of this film is the cinematography. Again and again, I was blown away by the extensive detail, the impressively beautiful scenery shots (one of my favorites being a mind-blowing vista of an old castle built into the side of a mountain), the masterfully choreographed fight scenes, and the gorgeous slow-motion shots. There’s a chase scene through a forest that is particularly memorable—during the moments when the camera slows down, one can see every bullet being fired and the details of every expression on the characters’ faces.
Like the previous Sherlock Holmes movie, the plot of this film was very complicated and full of unexpected surprises. When I saw it, I felt that I understood the majority of what was happening; however, I think a second viewing will be in order. I have a feeling that there’s a lot in the film that’s virtually impossible to pick up on while seeing it for the first time; there’s simply too much there to take it all in at first. Though some viewers may be annoyed by this factor, I personally feel that it’s to the film’s credit; I love movies that have even more to offer when being watched for the second time.
One main critique that could be said about the film is that the scope is much too broad to be believable. It’s a fair point that, to some viewers, it may seem odd to see Sherlock, who customarily solves small-scale crimes for a living, in a role that requires him to essentially become the savior of the free world. Though Holmes purists could potentially be put off by this, and though the film does indeed have a tendency to go overboard in the amount of disbelief that it requires the audience to suspend, the film is still very enjoyable and does a great job of getting the audience to use their brains.
In short, this film is a lot of fun for someone who’s in the mood for exciting action, lots of edge-of-the-seat moments, a good old-fashioned bromance, and maybe even an explosion or two. I strongly recommend this re-imagining of one of literature’s most interesting and beloved characters!