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Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows Review

Movies.com Critics

3.0

Dave White Profile

A little more elementary, a little less dear. Read full review

3.5

Grae Drake Profile

Knocks your stockings off. Read full review

Other Critics provided by Metacritic.com

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 3.0
    48

    out of 100

    Metascore®
    Mixed or average reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 40

    out of 100

    Wall Street Journal Joe Morgenstern

    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.

    Read Full Review

  • 50

    out of 100

    USA Today Claudia Puig

    Simultaneously brash and dull - hardly a combustible combination.

    Read Full Review

  • 60

    out of 100

    The Hollywood Reporter Todd McCarthy

    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.

    Read Full Review

  • 67

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly Owen Gleiberman

    Yet here, as before, part of the movie's perversely cheeky design is that it throws away its own cleverness.

    Read Full Review

  • See all Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows reviews at Metacritic.com

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

OK for kids 14+

Master sleuth returns in entertaining but violent adventure.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that, like its predecessor, this entertaining Sherlock Holmes adventure is filled with several scenes of action violence and mayhem. Though the fight scenes are very choreographed and stylized, they're bone-crunching and often brutal. And the slo-mo effects sometimes make the anticipation of the impact almost worse than the impact itself. Knives, guns, and bombs are all in use; there's also one scene of torture and a suicide. There's also a fair bit of innuendo, one scene of a naked man from behind, some mild language ("bastard" and "damn), pipe smoking, and social drinking. Holmes (again played by Robert Downey Jr.) dons women's clothing in one sequence.

  • Families can talk about how the new Sherlock Holmes movies' take on the famous detective compares to previous ones. Why do you think the filmmakers decided to up the action and violence in these films?
  • Why does Watson put up with Holmes' shenanigans, especially when they interfere with his relationship to his betrothed?
  • How does this film handle its good-versus-evil theme? Are the good and bad sides always clearly defined? Is that important?

The good stuff
  • message true1

    Messages: There's lots of iffy stuff going on here, but Holmes and Watson's friendship is a powerful example of loyalty. Also, Holmes continues to remind audiences to pay attention to even the smallest of details because the answers to our questions, big and small, lie in them.

  • rolemodels true2

    Role models: Holmes' sharp mind continues to be admirable, his eccentricities notwithstanding. And Watson remains straightforward and forthright. The friends always fight for good, even if their methods are sometimes iffy. Watson's wife, Mary, has a bigger role in this film, proving herself equal to the task of crime-fighting.

What to watch for
  • violence false4

    Violence: The film is filled with highly choreographed fights and lots of other action violence. Bare hands, brass knuckles, poison arrows, knives, guns, bombs -- you name it, it's here. Holmes is also tortured in one scene, and there's a suicide. Some scenes are almost balletic because of how directed and maneuvered they are, but they're still bone-crunching and (sometimes) bloody -- and the slow-mo shots can sometimes make the anticipation of the impact even worse.

  • sex false3

    Sex: Lots of innuendo (much of which is likely to go over younger kids' head) and suggestive banter, flirting, and a kiss. In a scene that's intended to be comic, a man is shown naked from behind as he casually exposes himself to a woman. 

  • language false2

    Language: Swearing includes "damn," "hell," "bastard," and "my God" (as an exclamation).

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: Not an issue

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false2

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: A man smokes a pipe (accurate for the era). References to how one character is hopped up on coca leaves. Social drinking -- Holmes likes his liquor.

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