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Generally favorable reviews- based on 512 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 29 out of 512

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  1. Jan 6, 2012
    This movie does what you has action, adventure and sexy men! What more do you want out of a movie that is billed as nothing less. If you expect this to be the Sherlock Holmes of literature, it's not and never was meant to be. Enjoy it for what it is!
  2. Jan 6, 2012
    A frustrating movie- I was hoping it'd turn into a steampunk film, but it stayed wholly in period. There was a promising "underground railway being built here" sign on Baker Street, but this didn't turn up later in the film.

    There's no chance for the viewers to try and solve the mysteries themselves; there's lightning-fast flashbacks as quick explanations are offered. The film is very
    dark throughout; almost all the action takes place at night. The editing is very fast at times, which creates confusion and disorientation in the viewer.

    There are some good scenes, the Moriarty character is used well and there are some good confrontations between he and Holmes, with a chess metaphor running between them.
    There's a nice use of the final scenes of Mozart's "Don Giovanni" in an Opera House scene.

    If the film had been slowed down and more mystery added to it, I would've enjoyed it a lot more.
  3. Jan 7, 2012
    The worst movie since Sucker Punch. Despite the fact it steals many things from other (good) movies, this film is not just boring, but doesn't contain any exciting or unsuspected moment. Bored from the start to the end.
  4. RSA
    Jan 8, 2012
    Though not as brilliant as its prequel, 'Game of shadows' is pretty gripping in the later part. Especially, dialogues between the Sherlock and Moriarty duo, were top-class, and the way each try to outwit one other, is what that makes the plot pretty interesting. And especially the ending moments and the climax (THE END?) was brilliant!! As Guy-Ritchie said in his 'revolver', 'you play better playing a tougher opponent', this time Sherlock really gets better, playing Moriarty!! Hope Guy-Ritchie ends this series on a high note !!! Expand
  5. Jan 10, 2012
    My very first cinema encounter in 2012 is the sequel of a reverberating bromance action flick of Sherlock Holmes and his lover Dr. Watson, two years after the triumph of the unorthodox trio - Guy Ritchie, Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law - of rebooting the household name into a bankable cash inflows, this time, at the same Christmas/New Year season, the threesome orgy revels in a more unrestrained burlesque, while all the detective-related mind-trickery is watered down in spite of Prof. Moriaty's existence (an underrated Jared Harris).

    The film has some self-consciously insipid moments during its 129 minutes running time, for the hefty action sequences, either those slow-motion or pre-mind fighting is overly abused, which functions eloquently in the first episode, nevertheless, the same question here, do we really need Holmes to be an action star like Bruce Lee? (anyway, it could not be worse than WITHOUT A CLUE 1988, a slapstick farce of a swapped identity.) In the face of that the old trick fails to avail for the second time, the ace is that a gay-implied two-player eclipses all the rest of the film (I cannot bring to my mind whatâ
  6. Jan 11, 2012
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. I had high hopes for this as I liked the first film however I was wrong there is far to much going on and the film makes No sence the only good bit is the gun battle in the train where he chucks mrs Watson in to the river To sum up this is too long and to boring Expand
  7. Jan 13, 2012
    While the story isn't as good as, say, the original books, the movie's still a load of fun. The acting is superb. The writing is dandy. The action is as chaotic and cerebral as ever. It's certainly a step above other action films, if a little low for Holmes's grand adventures.

    Still, a movie is a movie, and it's a damn good on.
  8. Jan 15, 2012
    Good blockbuster fare but nothing too memorable. Lacks the surprise factor of the first and just a little too much slow-mo. There are worse ways to waste a couple of hours.
  9. Jan 25, 2012
    'Observancy is a dying art.'

    So sayeth the late, great Stanley Kubrick regarding the self-perceived genius of his final film. He was talking about the tiny details inserted into every scene of Eyes Wide Shut, leaving the sharp-eyed viewer with more questions than answers with every viewing. Sherlock Holmes' ability to notice these fine points, and the camera's ability to linger on them
    just long enough to give you a fighting chance of solving the problem before he does, is one of the few quality aspects of this film. As for the rest of it, A Game of Shadows adheres to the typical conventions of a sequel. That is, bigger, louder and more ambitious, but ends up being nowhere near as fun as its predecessor.

    With Dr. Watson (Jude Law) happy to have the events of the past behind him, he makes plans for his long-overdue marriage. That is until news spreads regarding a series of mysterious bombings in and around London. Never one to work alone, Watson is again dragged into the deep end by the crafty Holmes (Robert Downey Jnr.). And so, with the help of Holmes' highly inappropriate brother Mycroft (Stephen Fry) and Simza the gypsy (Noomi Rapace), they are led to Holmes' greatest adversary, the evil but equally cunning Moriarty (Jared Harris).

    If that sounds more like a trailer blurb than a synopsis, it is because attempting to explain this plot in detail would only result in digging a deeper hole. One of the strengths of the first instalment (trying to steer away from the word 'original' here) was a plot that was balanced enough to keep the viewer's attention without seeming too simple, and allowing for some enjoyable interplay between the utterly immersive Holmes and Watson. This time around, however, director Guy Ritchie substitutes substance for style, placing great importance on keeping the film moving from place to place to place with very little deduction in between. These efforts to keep the audience's mind occupied actually end up having negative effects, as the film degrades into more of a visual spectacle, and less of a romping mystery, with every passing scene. In fact, from the absurd set piece involving a firefight on a train halfway through the film, the rest of the story seems to almost give up on anything that could even be considered rational or believable. Suspension of disbelief is a key requirement when watching films like this, sure, but Shadows takes things to new levels of foolishness, wasting the chance to deliver a fresh, clever sequel.

    Despite these occasionally over-the-top moments, the action is mostly well directed, albeit with a tendency to overuse slow motion and crash zooms at key moments. Holmes' re-imagining as an expert martial artist is still fun to watch, and his methods of predicting his opponent's entire move set before the fight has even begun are more refined in this film. His prior planning to prevent poor performance meets its match during the climax when we see Moriarty studying Holmes in the same way, resulting in the film's best moment by a long margin.

    Speaking of our hero's arch-nemesis, Moriarty's presence is disappointingly underwhelming. The best villains are able to invoke a feeling of dread even when off-screen, but it seems this much-lauded mastermind is content to be the office general; watching the good guys fight off hordes of faceless henchmen while he sits in his swivel chair, stroking his cat and practicing his best 'I've been expecting you.' Again, this is not the actor's fault- the character simply suffers from inadequate screen time to develop a truly menacing persona, while other insignificant side characters clog up the scenery (not including Rapace's Simza, who has the whole hippie-gypsy dread thing going on to great effect).

    But, for all its pitfalls, it would be unfair to give this film anything less than a straight average score, particularly in the light of almost all other blockbuster franchises still alive today. Yes, RDJ's characterisation has regressed from 'charmingly pompous' to 'borderline psychopath' in the last two years, but he and Law still try their darndest to make it work.

    *There's nothing I love more than a bit of feedback, good or bad. So drop me a line on and let me know what you thought of my review.*
  10. Jan 21, 2012
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Great movie, right until the ending. The fact that he survived a fall of hundreds of meters into a river and didn't die from the impact is just too far fetched. And Irene Adler is an unnecessary character. She gets 10 minutes of screen time then dies. It was pretty good the rest of the time Expand
  11. Jan 23, 2012
    Prefer the first movie but very enjoyable Christmas movie for grown-ups with great chemistry between Downey and Law and magnificent backdrops, just a tad too long
  12. Jan 24, 2012
    I actually thought this was very great and even better than the first one. This one had the action, comedy, Adams, and of course the best acting people who can work good together. I will actuall buy this one when it comes out. Please make a third one.
  13. Jan 28, 2012
    To summarize my review in a sentence, this is a simple, fun movie that you wouldn't regret seeing. It has good pacing, hilarious moments, and the actors are clearly having fun with their roles too. Some people might be turned off by the length of this movie, but you never have dull moment where you sit back and ask "how much longer is this movie going take?" It's not a movie that is going to make you think, it's not going to awe you with it's cinematography, and it's probably not really going to evoke any strong emotions. But it is a movie that you can drop $10+ to go see, have a fun time, and talk about it with your friends afterwards. Expand
  14. Feb 8, 2012
    I enjoyed this film! I liked as much as the first one. It was also more simple to understand. And it was FUNNY. It was everything, comedy, action, drama, mystery (a little little little bit of romance). And the death of Irene was terrible, I liked how Sherlock was silently hurt.
  15. May 4, 2012
    SHERLOCK HOLMES: A GAME OF SHADOWS continues the tradition of the first film superbly, with the same brilliant chemistry between Watson and Holmes that made the original so enjoyable.
  16. Jul 24, 2012
    Game of shadows is loosely based on the same story as The Reichenbach Fall/Final Problem episodes of the BBC show but here the plot is not presented with the same interesting detective mystery style that Sherlock Holmes should be and is padded out by endless and mostly pointless action scenes that make it far longer than it should be and even more boring than the 1st film. We have action films for action scenes, there is no reason to mutate Sherlock Holmes into Rambo. He never even does his observation analysis thing once in the whole 75% of the film I watched. Expand
  17. Mar 24, 2012
    Fast-paced, excitingly action-packed, nicely acted, and full of humor, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows is fun, brilliant movie that lives up to its equally funny and entertaining predecessor. 9/10.
  18. Apr 6, 2012
    This was well worth seeing on the big screen! I really can't say a bad word about it: great acting, well developed actors and great surprises throughout the movie! I may even have to see it again.
  19. Mar 8, 2014
    Just as good as the first, or perhaps, even better. This sequel proves to be intelligent, funny, action-packed and thrilling. There were a few scenes when you wished the pace would pick up a bit, but it's for sure, not a disappointment.
  20. Aug 18, 2012
    Somewhat better than the first one. The story introduces Professor Moriarty with which Holmes and Watson play a game of wits. There are plenty of action scenes with the trademark super-slomo explosions and fistfights Guy Ritchie likes so much. It all looks great and the VFX are pretty good too. At 130 mins it's maybe a bit longer than it should have been but otherwise nice popcorn entertainment.
  21. Aug 28, 2012
    This film was not as good as the first one, lacked mystery and suspense, and also involved unnecessary talking. However, I really did like Downey, Jr.'s performance but this film was not able to impress me that much, or it is also possible that I was expecting it to be more mysterious. Whatever was the case, this film was good, not too great, but Sherlock Holmes is Sherlock Holmes, you can't miss it especially when Downey, Jr. is playing the role and he is playing it very well. I am giving it a 7 for a good plot because it was too hard to understand (and I liked it) and great performances by Downey, Jr., Jude Law and Jared Harris. Expand
  22. Jul 10, 2012
    What in gods name is wrong with our professional reviewers people? This film was an absolute masterpiece and almost tops the first film which is surprising. Robert Downey.Jr makes ample work as the role of the psychotic Mr Holmes set on his new fast paced adventure that will surely lead to the breakout of another war? With plenty of action and comedy, a great watch for all.
  23. Jul 18, 2012
    "Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows" is a thrilling, suspenseful, and daring adventure that knows just when and where the characters should be and what they should be doing. This is much more fun than its predecessor.
  24. Jul 21, 2012
    I'm no big fan of sherlock holmes and definitely not of guy ritchie (snatch apart) but this was a really entertaining movie. Perhaps the relatively low scores are in part due to the BBC's 'Sherlock' which is very british and this is just very american. As a brit, if i loved sherlock holmes i would probably hate this, but just judging the movie purely on its entertainment value, i have to say its a 'good un'. From the beginning, the film is well shot, well acted, with decent action set pieces and a fairly good story. Its well worth a watch whether you like 'holmes' or not. Expand
  25. Aug 27, 2012
    Great movie. Great intriguing plot and amazing acting. If there is one thing that bothered me, it was the fact that most of Sherlock Holmes' wit took a backseat to the more favoured action sequences which are not staple of Holmes. The first movie balanced action and wit pretty well, here not so much. But I found myself at the edge of my seat much more this time, and it had a more intriguing plot.
  26. Aug 14, 2012
    Eh, it's kind of a mixed bag for me. The chemistry between Holmes and Watson isn't nearly as interesting as it was the first time around. The story felt more jumbled around and this caused me to lose track of who the villain was and what his intentions were. Downey Jr. boasts another solid performance and the action sequences are solid enough, but everything else is meh.
  27. Dec 20, 2012
    It's not a perfect movie. It's not a bad movie. It's not even amazing, but it is GOOD. Enjoy it. Much better than the first one! Slow motion was great. It is an artistic film, and as such, some may not undertand the usage of slow motion and precise shots- doesn't matter. A good movie to cuddle up with someone on a rainy day.
  28. Nov 7, 2012
    At times, the plot is absurd, but, nevertheless, we roll with it. Why? Because Downey and Law have such great chemistry and play their characters with such ease that we can't help but be entertained.
  29. Mar 9, 2013
    Well thought out movie I must say. Takes you into an adventure in a different time, but it`s not really my type of movie. It was worth watching, but I can`t say I enjoyed all of it. At times I just did not care what was going on.
  30. Nov 28, 2012
    It's distinctly messier than the first one, but "Sherlock Holmes: A Game Of Shadows" still remains an almost unrelentingly fun thrill ride, with two charismatic lead characters.
  31. Feb 12, 2013
    Like most sequels, the plot was over the top. There are way too many end-of-the-world movies coming out. I don't understand why filmmakers feel that they have to have an outrageous story line in order to keep people's interest in a franchise. James Moriarty, the only villain who has ever managed to off Holmes's game, was cast brilliantly. But I think they could have reserved him for a third movie. Holmes and Watson looked like super spies who go undercover and foil a conspiracy to prevent the destruction of multiple countries. This is not what Sherlock Holmes was about. I may be a purist but the movie was still entertaining enough, if you're willing to imagine that the Holmes that you're watching is a 19th century Ethan Hunt. If they had gone with the 'The Hound of the Baskervilles' story which was simple at heart yet mind boggling and involved a self contained mystery, I would have respected Guy Ritchie more. Expand
  32. Jan 18, 2013
    This is one of the best downey-movies i've ever seen. Its a good cast and a very good story. I really like this movie because i'm fan of the first one but I found these one the best.
  33. Dec 11, 2012
    Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows has a lot of skilfully action. I very like the part when Holmes thought how to beat someone. there are just 3 words for this movie: WOW
  34. Jan 1, 2013
    Peppered with enough pointless slow mo and colourful explosions to keep most people happy Sherlock Holmes 2 is bloated and direction-less. It just about flirts with a vague and familiar plot involving an evil genius and a possible world war but never quite embraces it properly and fully. The film also manages to skip any meaningful character and story progression by virtue of a succession of languid expository sequences and monologues. Furthermore, it fails to engage or involve the audience as its overtly 'clever' central characters have to constantly remind us what is going on and more importantly, why we should care. The trick with this kind of movie is to show us the intellectual merit of our characters but to always let the audience be smarter, it has to be this way otherwise there is no connection, no cinematic symbiosis.

    It is too easy to lambaste the film for not holding true to the source material, so i wont do that here but it is important to note that the film is astonishingly short on mystery or indeed, any interesting ideas. Instead we get so-called 'clever' disguises, whimsical plotting and an overwhelming sludge of absurdity more akin to that of a Tom Cruise era Mission Impossible film. Finally, Guy Ritchie continues to be director of interest although this is not always due to the importance or success of his films. Indeed, he seems to have a few ideas up his sleeves but sadly gleams too much delight from showing us the same ones over and over again from project to project. How is the fighting between Sherlock and his faceless baddies here any different to Brad Pitt's bare knuckle forays in Snatch? Also, how long can we endure the Tarantino-lite, pseudo-intellectual rumblings of his central characters who seem intent on talking around the films hollow plotting with puffed up similes and mindless metaphors. Anyways, this all results in the movie being a mildly watchable piece of cinematic pap.
  35. Jun 1, 2013
    If I were to make a "top ten" of my all-time favorite movies, "Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows" would take the top spot, followed by 2009's prequel "Sherlock Holmes". From the action scenes to the plot, this movie is spotless. It's undeniably amusing and incredibly addictive.
  36. Feb 23, 2013
    This is an amazing sequel to the original Sherlock Holmes. I highly recommend you to watch both movies because they both are quite a masterpiece. A graded movies.
  37. Mar 24, 2013
    Painful to sit through. The plot line seemed to jump from place to place like it was created by a fourth-grader.
  38. May 7, 2013
    even if i have 600 American movies at home ,and love them true I can't let you hurt this movie
    why tell so many lies about a movie you just don't get ?
    a movie you couldn't have made in the U-S ?
    the 19 th century 's Europe was so civilized and SHerlock will never be the usual "american primal cop"
    and this movie is far too brilliant to be compared to the regular U-S
    "entertainment" 's productions
    if any big movie was half as good ,I would definitely shut up!
  39. May 8, 2013
    The complex plot, the characters more developed than ever, and perfect performances from Downey Jr and Jude Law, this sequel far surpasses the predecessor to present a political plot that is the envy of many other films of the genre, and those beautifull scenes action in slow motion to make this Melor adaption of a book by Conan Doyle.
  40. May 11, 2013
    I thought this movie would be quite boring but when I watched it I was quite impressed. The music the acting and the story were all good just like the first one.
  41. Jun 9, 2013
    I like this film, albeit in it the Sherlock Holmes is not that one I read in words of Doyle’s; yet they have common traits. Some say that this Sherlock is a foreseer of the future, and for it they detested the film, but indeed I think not so. I’d like to riddle the narrow chance that favors Downey in final victory, on the one hand to be the revealing of a perilous state in coping with Professor Moriarty that has built a kingdom of his own, and the rare gifts and expertise Sherlock Holmes has on the other hand, which the directors try to present to the audience.
    Dr. Watson in this movie is quite funny, with some mischievous mark, completely not that honest one in the book.
  42. Jul 18, 2013
    This film is much like the first film in style and action: but Downey Jr. improved here so I can hear everything he said! The story was once again difficult to follow, but it was entertaining none the less. Entertaining film, but not a perfect one.
  43. Mar 22, 2014
    The second installment in the Sherlock Holmes series is almost just as amazing as the first one. All the familiar elements that its predecessor did are brought back, and the product is still something to watch. Another great story with another great performance by Downey, Jr. and one by Law, too, A Game of Shadows is epic.

Mixed or average reviews - based on 38 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 10 out of 38
  2. Negative: 5 out of 38
  1. 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.
  2. Reviewed by: Connie Ogle
    Dec 19, 2011
    Something of an overlong, overblown, disorganized mess, despite being slightly better than its predecessor.
  3. Reviewed by: Peter Rainer
    Dec 16, 2011
    What this film really celebrates is crunch-and-thud video-game-style action, not especially well choreographed by director Guy Ritchie.