As this is still a new movie I’ll try to avoid giving away any major spoilers but alas this review is not entirely without them. If you still haven’t seen the movie I recommend you go see it, if you’re looking for an entirely amateur review by a huge fan of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s character continue reading on.
While the new Sherlock Holmes movies are based on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s characters and elements are taken from his writings most of the experience is new. I think the new writers have done a spectacular job of keeping the most critical elements of the story; Holmes and his characteristics, an entirely competent and capable Watson (most movies portray Watson as a bumbling idiot, nothing like the character in the origional writings), and in this movie they made a very convincing Professor Moriarty. Unlike the original writings the new movies have been far more action oriented, which is good considering the change of medium requires different elements to remain entertaining.
Anyhow this move finally introduces us to Moriarty, Holme’s arch-rival (who only appeared in two of the original writings). To say Moriarty is a total bad ass is an understatement, the man was the original super villain and equally capable as Holmes. This is one of the few movies I’ve seen based on Sherlock Holmes that does Moriarty justice. Instead of focusing on the man’s evil intent A Game of Shadows focuses heavily on his intelligence and comparability to Holmes. The movie is basically one giant chess match between Holmes and Moriarty… except with more explosions and far more gun play.
Yes the movie contains a great deal of gun play. Whereas Holmes and Watson periodically carried a pistol the original writings contained relatively little gun play. Considering the fact movies need to contain more action that movies if they are to be entertaining (in my opinion at least) the increase in action scenes was only logical. Lots of stuff blows up and/or gets shot.
I thought the story was well done and presented the strengths of both main characters. As the movie is a new release I’ll not delve into the overall story to any detail but I will say it’s good.
Overall I greatly enjoyed the move and on the Christopher Burg Scale of Arbitrary Ratings compromising fractional scores between zero and one I give A Game of Shadows a .9024. I highly recommend seeing it although I may be somewhat bias as Moriarty is one of my favorite literary characters of all time and this movie truly does him justice.