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Sherlock Holmes returns in 'A Game of Shadows' Jeri Jacquin | Fri, Dec 23 2011 01:05 PM

Now playing in theaters from director Guy Ritchie and Warner Bros. is the next installment with the dashing duo in “Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows.”

This film continues the story of Sherlock Holmes (Robert Downey  Jr.) and his sidekick Dr. Watson (Jude Law). Until now, Holmes has basically been considered the smartest man in the world.

That is until Professor James Moriarty (Jared Harris) proved otherwise. He may equal Holmes’ intelligence but he surpasses him in evil. Around the world, men are being killed from India to the United States and no one knows why. The investigation takes Holmes and Watson all over Europe looking for more clues.

In their travels, they also meet Sim (Noomi Rapace), a mysterious Gypsy who wants to solve the mystery as well. But Moriarty is always one step ahead and if Holmes doesn’t find him, the evil plan could bring about a change in human history.

Final word: Downey reprises his role with the same wit and charm that he brought to the first film. The fact that Downey does this so well makes the film fun to watch. The action scenes are pretty cool and Downey seems to jump in with ease.

Law also reprises his role of Watson. It is clear that although Law’s character gets frustrated with Holmes, Watson will never let him down. Law does a splendid job of being the sidekick but does so with equal smarts and fun.

Getting a chance to see Rapace do some acting outside of her impressive role as Lisbeth Salander in the original “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” is grand. Playing the Gypsy Sim has a mystery in itself that lends itself to the story. I really enjoyed seeing her in this film.

“One of the most important things about the first movie was to get away from the somewhat dustier impression of the character,” Ritchie said. “In keeping with Conan Doyle’s original creation, we wanted to access the physicality of Holmes while conveying his intelligence and wit. Robert brought that and more to the equation. I find it impossible to imagine anyone else playing Holmes!”

Other cast members include Paul Anderson as Sebastian Moran, Rachel McAdams returns as Irene Adler, who is the only woman who has ever bested Holmes, Eddie Marsan as Inspector Lestrade, Kelly Reilly as Watson’s bride Mary Morstan and Stephen Fry as Holmes’ older brother Mycroft Holmes.

Tubs of popcorn: I give “Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows” three tubs of popcorn out of five. Ritchie has found his niche bringing about the return of Holmes. This is definitely an action-packed film with a lot of twists and turns. It is a fun film for a break in the holiday rush.

In the end – Holmes sees everything and that is his curse!

Who’s the best Sherlock Holmes? Take your pick

Basil Rathbone is the definitive Sherlock Holmes for 1940s moviegoers just as Jeremy Brett is the definitive Holmes for viewers of the classic Granada Films television series (1984-94).

Robert Downey Jr. is the latest actor to portray Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s master detective. But time will only tell if he joins the illustrious company above.

Rathbone portrayed Holmes in 14 films from 1939 to 1946, all of which starred Nigel Bruce as Dr. Watson.

Brett starred in 41 episodes of the British TV series that concluded production shortly before Brett’s death in 1995 at age 61.

More than 70 actors have portrayed Holmes either on screen, stage, television or radio, including notables Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee and Peter O’Toole. Most recently, Benedict Cumberbatch gave Holmes a novel contemporary spin in the 2010 British TV series “Sherlock.”

The attention to period detail, mannerisms, customs and dialog — not to mention the electric chemistry between cast members — makes Brett’s personification of Holmes extremely watchable, particularly the latter episodes with Edward Hardwicke as Dr. Watson.

Downey, meanwhile, portrays a younger and more energetic Holmes — qualities that appear to be a must to satisfy today’s generation of moviegoers who have much shorter attention spans and a passion for blockbuster action and special effects.

Who’s the best? Why, it’s elementary, of course.

 — Phillip Brents

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