Metascore
48

Mixed or average reviews - based on 38 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 10 out of 38
  2. Negative: 5 out of 38
  1. Reviewed by: Roger Ebert
    Dec 14, 2011
    88
    Set aside your memories of the Conan Doyle stories, save them to savor on a night this winter and enjoy this movie as a high-caliber entertainment.
  2. Reviewed by: Steve Persall
    Dec 14, 2011
    83
    Ritchie stages plenty of gunfights and beatdowns to satisfy action fans, pausing to consider the beauty of violence before resuming speed and piling on more.
  3. Reviewed by: Ian Nathan
    Dec 12, 2011
    80
    A sequel confident in what it's about - bigger, better, funnier, without stretching the joke.
  4. Reviewed by: Jen Yamato
    Dec 15, 2011
    75
    It's BFF and hetero life partner Dr. Watson who forms the tale's real love triangle with Holmes - escalating the first film's bromantic undercurrent of mutual admiration and "circumstantial homosexuality" to overt, unabashed man-love and dangerous attraction - with tantalizingly evil interloper Professor James Moriarty.
  5. Reviewed by: James Berardinelli
    Dec 13, 2011
    75
    A Game of Shadows is a stronger, better realized movie that builds upon the strengths of the original and jettisons some of the weaknesses.
  6. Reviewed by: Andrew O'Hehir
    Dec 15, 2011
    70
    Occasionally thrilling, sometimes hilarious and mostly absolute claptrap. Think of it as a lot like drinking a fourth cup of holiday eggnog: Not really a good idea at all, but you might have fun.
  7. Reviewed by: Brian Lowry
    Dec 8, 2011
    70
    While director Guy Ritchie's excesses and modern concessions -- among them a lot of explosions -- remain intact, the parts of this second "Sherlock Holmes" are considerably more rewarding.
  8. Reviewed by: M. E. Russell
    Dec 15, 2011
    67
    The sequel has all the merits and demerits of its predecessor, only with a less-snarly antagonist, a more thoughtful final showdown and broader Holmes/Watson relationship jokes.
  9. Reviewed by: Owen Gleiberman
    Dec 15, 2011
    67
    Yet here, as before, part of the movie's perversely cheeky design is that it throws away its own cleverness.
  10. Reviewed by: Mark Jenkins
    Dec 15, 2011
    63
    This sequel is just as profligate as its 2009 predecessor with explosions, anachronisms and quick cuts. But the dialogue is a little sharper, and Holmes gets a worthy opponent in Professor Moriarty.
  11. Reviewed by: Joe Neumaier
    Dec 16, 2011
    60
    The result ends up like an "SNL" skit: knowingly over-the-top but still fun.
  12. Reviewed by: Betsy Sharkey
    Dec 15, 2011
    60
    A few shades brighter than its predecessor, and the action bits certainly closer to the full-throttle "Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels" mode director Guy Ritchie didn't quite capture the first time.
  13. Reviewed by: Bill Goodykoontz
    Dec 14, 2011
    60
    Ultimately, the best relationship in the movie remains that of Holmes and Watson, which is to say, Downey and Law. Their pairing is what makes the movie; the explosions and bells and whistles Ritchie employs are mere distractions.
  14. Reviewed by: David Fear
    Dec 13, 2011
    60
    Shadows still functions as a study in superior sequel-itude, building a fine showcase for a reimagined character and the compelling, twitchy dynamo playing him. Should Ritchie ever learn to be elementary instead of epileptically overwrought, he may one day do proper justice to both.
  15. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    Dec 8, 2011
    60
    After quite a few tedious detours and distractions, when the film finally gets down to the business of a climax at a gathering of elite European diplomats in a precariously perched Swiss mountain castle, it becomes not half-bad.
  16. Reviewed by: Connie Ogle
    Dec 19, 2011
    50
    Something of an overlong, overblown, disorganized mess, despite being slightly better than its predecessor.
  17. Reviewed by: Mike Scott
    Dec 16, 2011
    50
    Ritchie is simply trying to buy a good movie here -- and forgetting that a little brainpower is also required to complete the job.
  18. Reviewed by: Peter Travers
    Dec 16, 2011
    50
    So the sequel, A Game of Shadows, is more of the stupid same. It wouldn't matter so much if Downey and Jude Law, as the bromantic Dr. Watson, didn't look so ready to turn on the cerebral dazzle. Instead, Ritchie treats them like action goons out of his "Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels" basement.
  19. Reviewed by: Rick Groen
    Dec 15, 2011
    50
    This movie wants to be a horse but, even measured in box-office millions, it's just another nag.
  20. Reviewed by: Steven Rea
    Dec 15, 2011
    50
    Virtually every set-up and set-piece in this extravagantly tedious adventure is misleading, or worse, irrelevant.
  21. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    Dec 15, 2011
    50
    Simultaneously brash and dull - hardly a combustible combination.
  22. Reviewed by: A.O. Scott
    Dec 15, 2011
    50
    There is a plot, but no real intrigue, mystery or suspense, and no inkling of anything at stake beyond a childish and belligerent idea of fun.
  23. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    Dec 15, 2011
    50
    It's an enjoyably demented meta-finale, the rivals showing what they could do if they ever bothered to actually do it.
  24. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    Dec 15, 2011
    50
    Fresh inspiration is sparse here; the sequel is less an extension than a remake. Holmes says of one of his lamer disguises, "It's so overt, it's covert." And the shadow in this game is the imposing penumbra of Ritchie's very satisfying 2009 film. It's overt and overwhelming.
  25. Reviewed by: J.R. Jones
    Dec 15, 2011
    50
    I found this sequel more tolerable than Sherlock Holmes (2009), though I'm not sure whether it's actually better or I've just accepted the putrid idea of turning Arthur Conan Doyle's brainy detective into just another quipping action hero.
  26. Reviewed by: Marc Savlov
    Dec 15, 2011
    50
    The final 30 odd minutes of this revisionist Holmes explodathon are downright thrilling, and it should go without saying but we'll restate it for the record: Downey Jr. inhabits the role of Sherlock Holmes to a near-molecular level.
  27. Reviewed by: Keith Phipps
    Dec 14, 2011
    50
    Ritchie has made a film that's so busy, it starts to become boring.
  28. Reviewed by: James Rocchi
    Dec 14, 2011
    50
    Director Guy Ritchie is like a Heismann-winning football player cast in a ballet stage-perfectly talented, but wrong for the circumstance.
  29. Reviewed by: Nick Pinkerton
    Dec 13, 2011
    50
    Lackluster screenwriting and the absence of actorly communion are breezed past with monotonous banter, as is the fleetingly visible plot.
  30. Reviewed by: Peter Rainer
    Dec 16, 2011
    42
    What this film really celebrates is crunch-and-thud video-game-style action, not especially well choreographed by director Guy Ritchie.
  31. 40
    The only reason to put yourself through Guy Ritchie's overblown, inelegant Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows is to see Jared Harris, who plays Professor Moriarty, in a chilling low key.
  32. Reviewed by: Andrew Lapin
    Dec 16, 2011
    40
    Though the film features Holmes' fiercest villain and a plot partially cribbed from "The Final Problem," one of Conan Doyle's most beloved stories, the sense of mystery has gone missing. A most heinous crime has taken place. The fun, too, is nowhere in evidence.
  33. Reviewed by: Joe Morgenstern
    Dec 15, 2011
    40
    Now the two men are back, along with Irene. But she vanishes all too soon in this overproduced, self-enchanted sequel, and so does the spirit of bright invention that made the previous film such a pleasant surprise.
  34. Reviewed by: Kyle Smith
    Dec 16, 2011
    38
    So moron-friendly they should have called it "Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Checkers." The skill level in the script is elementary school, my dear Watson.
  35. Reviewed by: Joe Williams
    Dec 15, 2011
    38
    As in the first "Sherlock Holmes" movie, there are plenty of pratfalls and bare-knuckle brawls but no sleuthing for us to share.
  36. Reviewed by: Michael Phillips
    Dec 15, 2011
    25
    Certainly Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's creations have suffered permanent damage thanks to Ritchie's films.
  37. Reviewed by: Nick Schager
    Dec 14, 2011
    25
    Wither the rollicking verve and whip-crack humor in Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows?
  38. Reviewed by: Mick LaSalle
    Dec 15, 2011
    0
    There's nothing here but wreckage. Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows is so ineptly made that the story is advanced solely through announcements.
User Score
7.4

Generally favorable reviews- based on 519 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 12 out of 142
  1. Dec 19, 2011
    10
    really good! i really like that you have to think harder with this part. part 1 told you everything, and was simple, this one makes you thinkreally good! i really like that you have to think harder with this part. part 1 told you everything, and was simple, this one makes you think harder, and it was really epic! slow-motion scene in the forest was awesome, fantastic humour to x) Full Review »
  2. Dec 16, 2011
    10
    I liked this as much as the first one. That's saying a lot, it was one of my all time favorites. Great fun . The action flows very well and aI liked this as much as the first one. That's saying a lot, it was one of my all time favorites. Great fun . The action flows very well and a cool surprise ending. Awesome movie. Full Review »
  3. Dec 17, 2011
    9
    Shut up critics. You don't understand good film. Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows has a complex storyline, and it's great acting and gentleShut up critics. You don't understand good film. Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows has a complex storyline, and it's great acting and gentle humor makes it a hit. Plus, I loved the end.

    THE END ?
    Full Review »