The movie stumbles when we veer outside the world of Holmes and his buddies (including nemesis Moriarty). Particularly painful is a scene where Holmes and Watson wind up in Simza's gypsy camp, where (groan) the gypsies steal all their stuff, feed them disgusting food, and force them to drink and dance. Clichéd bits like this crop up repeatedly in Game of Shadows. We're made to listen to the same jokes we heard in the first movie, about how Holmes takes drugs and likes to poison Watson's dog and wears really terrible disguises. Yes, it's fun to see Holmes being eccentric, but there has to be a fresher way of showing us. Some of the action set pieces suffer from similar problems. By the end of the flick, you'll be heartily sick of the preview/rewind/slomo/fastmo style that makes every action sequence feel like a really bad ecstasy trip.


Still, there's a scrappy heart to this film that makes it fun to watch despite all its flaws. I'm not saying it's great, but it makes for fine amusement and a genuinely cute bromance.