Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows


Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows

Critics Consensus

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows is a good yarn thanks to its well-matched leading men but overall stumbles duplicating the well-oiled thrills of the original.



Total Count: 222


Audience Score

User Ratings: 168,311
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Movie Info

Sherlock Holmes (Robert Downey Jr.) has always been the smartest man in the room...until now. There is a new criminal mastermind at large-Professor Moriarty (Jared Harris)-and not only is he Holmes' intellectual equal, but his capacity for evil, coupled with a complete lack of conscience, may actually give him an advantage over the renowned detective. When the Crown Prince of Austria is found dead, the evidence, as construed by Inspector Lestrade (Eddie Marsan), points to suicide. But Sherlock Holmes deduces that the prince has been the victim of murder-a murder that is only one piece of a larger and much more portentous puzzle, designed by Professor Moriarty. The cunning Moriarty is always one step ahead of Holmes as he spins a web of death and destruction-all part of a greater plan that, if he succeeds, will change the course of history. -- (C) Warner Bros


Robert Downey Jr.
as Sherlock Holmes
Jude Law
as Dr. John Watson
Noomi Rapace
as Madam Simza Heron
Rachel McAdams
as Irene Adler
Jared Harris
as Professor James Moriarty
Stephen Fry
as Mycroft Holmes
Paul Anderson (XVIII)
as Col. Sebastian Moran
Kelly Reilly
as Mary Watson
Geraldine James
as Mrs. Hudson
Eddie Marsan
as Inspector Lestrade
William Houston
as Constable Clark
Wolf Kahler
as Doctor Hoffmanstahl
Iain Mitchell
as Auctioneer
Jack Laskey
as Carruthers
Patricia Slater
as Shush Club Maitre D
Karima Adebibe
as Shush Club Maitre D
Richard Cunningham
as Businessman
Mark Sheals
as Cock Fight Referee
George Taylor
as University Student
Mike Grady
as Train Conductor
Thorston Manderlay
as Alfred Meinhard
Stanley Kaye
as Stanley
Thierry Neuvic
as Claude Ravache
Martin Nelson
as Commendatore
Mark Llewelyn-Evans
as Don Giovanni
Anthony Inglis
as Conductor
Ian Wilson-Pope
as Leporello
Pamela Hay
as Elvira
Peter Stark
as German Officer
Roman Jankovic
as German Officer
Frederick Ruth
as Ballroom Attendant
Carsten Hayes
as Ballroom Photographer
James McNeill
as Diplomat
Laurentiu Possa
as Rene Heron
Joe Egan
as Big Joe
Clive Russell
as Captain Tanner
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Critic Reviews for Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows

All Critics (222) | Top Critics (46) | Fresh (133) | Rotten (89)

  • It's complete trash and makes a mockery of Holmes's vaunted deductive reasoning.

    Jan 16, 2012 | Full Review…
  • The production is still needlessly overlong and overblown, a far cry from your father's (or even your cousin's) conception of the master detective. But it's certainly lively and has clever moments that involve Holmes' keen powers of observation...

    Dec 25, 2011 | Rating: 2.1/2
  • Downey's career is something of a game of shadows, but it's one still worth playing, for now.

    Dec 16, 2011 | Rating: B- | Full Review…
  • Downey and Law remain this presumptive franchise's draw.

    Dec 16, 2011 | Rating: 3/4
  • What this film really celebrates is crunch-and-thud video-game-style action, not especially well choreographed by director Guy Ritchie.

    Dec 16, 2011 | Rating: C- | Full Review…
  • It doesn't take a master of deduction to see that Ritchie has decided to play it too safe with this sequel.

    Dec 16, 2011 | Rating: 1.5/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows

  • Mar 22, 2016
    Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows might feel like the same for some, but in my opinion I like this slightly more than the first film. It has the great performances, action and fun that made the first one so awesome.
    Mr N Super Reviewer
  • Aug 25, 2013
    For the record, I do remember enjoying the first Sherlock Holmes movie starring Robert Downey Jr. as the eponymous sleuth, liking most of the performances and the action. But in the interval, there has been one great('Sherlock') and one very good('Elementary') modern day updates of the great detective to the small screen which also served to remind us all that Holmes is much more about solving a puzzle than saving the world. And even without that, I still don't think "Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows" would merit a recommendation, as it resembles nothing more than an out of control train ride while being on a huge amount of medications, centering on a central scheme that is both grandiose and banal.(Not recommended, by the way.) Since it desperately tries to cram in as much comedy and action as much as humanly possible(including one very unfortunate scene involving Stephen Fry), I'm not sure what happens at the start of the movie. Basically, any recollection of a plot starts with Sherlock taking the opportunity of Watson's(Jude Law) stag party to visit Simza(Noomi Rapace), a fortune teller, before 43 separate fights start. So, it's no surprise that the best scene in the movie is the wedding as it expresses so much about the characters' true reltionships while providing a much needed quiet moment. The climax by comparison does not quite work whereas the final confrontation between Holmes and Moriarty(Jared Harris, an uninspired casting) works out much better, if too little, too late.
    Walter M Super Reviewer
  • Mar 09, 2013
    Having heard many a negative review of this film I was pleasantly surprised and entertained by this 2nd offering of Downey Jr. as Conan Doyle's famous detective. It was established in the first film that Downey's Holmes is much more the action figure than the text intended, but if you can forgive that, then this film, as the first, is solid and entertaining. Director Guy Ritchie as usual does tend to teeter into excess in his style over substance approach (he doesn't really give you the chance to be fully absorbed in the film... ie. Forgetting that you are watching a film - mainly due to his overuse of camera techniques; in particular the stop action/slow mo/fast mo that dates back to the Matrix films - especially in a overly long "escape" scene with the heroes running through the woods as bullets fly around them). It is this scene and a couple of others that could have used a bit of judicious editing to prevent the film from bogging down - but that being said, the chess match (real and metaphorical) between Holmes and arch villain Moriarty (a wonderful turn by Richard Harris' son Jared) certainly makes for compelling viewing. Ritchie also uses an interesting technique to let you "inside" Holmes' brain. Showing us how and why he will execute certain maneuvers and assessing their potential - and then showing us the action and the result in real time. This could be off-putting to some, but I found it a stroke of brilliance; especially at the film's climax when Holmes' "thoughts" are interrupted by Moriarty. A kind of "well, if you do this, then I'll do that" bit of sophistry akin to thinking 3 moves ahead on a chess board. This film, as was the case with its predecessor, has a fair amount of humor (the scene with Holmes aboard a pony was laugh out loud funny), and really - it's this insertion of humor that tells you that you are watching "entertainment" - that Ritchie knew going in that this was not something to be treated in utmost seriousness. There are a few other flaws that I tend to overlook - for example Jude Law's Watson overemphasizes his war wound limp at film's beginning... which of course totally disappears when the script needs him to transform into an action hero. There is also the rather hackneyed sentiments about Watson's wedding and how that will allegedly effect Holmes - you kind of role your eyes and move on to the meat of the matter - the sublime cat and mouse game between Holmes and Moriarty - ignore the rest and you will be totally entertained.
    paul s Super Reviewer
  • Jan 09, 2013
    Good, though not as good as the first one. Kind of drags through the first hour, and can be hard to follow the intricate plot. The second half of the film is great though, especially the sequence at the party where he's trying to figure out who the assassin is.
    Stephen S Super Reviewer

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