The Source for Youth Ministry

Movie Reviews
by Jonathan McKee and Todd Pearage

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (6/12/12)

Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, and some drug material.

Starring Robert Downey Jr., Jude Law, Noomi Rapace and Jared Harris

Directed by Guy Ritchie (Sherlock Holmes, Snatch and Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels)

Jonathan's Rating: Theatre Worthy

Todd's Rating: Worth Buying

Guy Ritchie, Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law make one great movie!

Sherlock Holmes (Robert Downey Jr.) has always been the smartest man in the room...until now. There is a new criminal mastermind at large—Professor Moriarty (Jared Harris)—and not only is he Holmes' intellectual equal, but his capacity for evil, coupled with a complete lack of conscience, may actually give him an advantage over the renowned detective. When the Crown Prince of Austria is found dead, the evidence, as construed by Inspector Lestrade (Eddie Marsan), points to suicide. But Sherlock Holmes deduces that the prince has been the victim of murder—a murder that is only one piece of a larger and much more portentous puzzle, designed by Professor Moriarty. The cunning Moriarty is always one step ahead of Holmes as he spins a web of death and destruction—all part of a greater plan that, if he succeeds, will change the course of history.

TODD’S WORD: In 2009 Guy Ritchie, Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law brought us an updated, action packed, and very entertaining version of Arthur Conan Doyle's famous detective, Sherlock Holmes. Now the cast and crew are back for the sequel and they did not disappoint.

JONATHAN’S WORD: Agreed. Sometimes sequels stink. In this case, I think I actually liked the sequel as good as, if not more, than the original.

TODD’S WORD: Ritchie films the story with great style. He uses the perfect balance between slow motion and fast moving images. The scene where Holmes and Watson are running through the woods while being shot at and shelled is amazing! There are also a few scenes where Holmes is analyzing a situation and “sees” into the future. Ritchie films them brilliantly.

JONATHAN’S WORD: Those moments of clever camera work were some of my favorite in the first film. In Game of Shadows, Ritchie gave us even more. He’s really a creative film maker.

TODD’S WORD: I thought the story was fun. It’s bigger than just a “who-done-it” mystery. It has some real depth and also takes the characters all across Europe from London, to Paris, to Germany and even to the mountains of Switzerland. Plus there are a few gadgets thrown in for good measure.

The creative script and entertaining action were great, but the real treat is the chemistry between Downey and Law as Holmes and Watson. They banter and bicker like an old married couple yet they are always there for each other when they're needed.

JONATHAN’S WORD: I agree. I think that Robert Downey Jr. makes this film.

TODD’S WORD: Jared Harris is fine as Moriarty, but speaking candidly, the rest of the cast is there just for support. It really is all about Downey and Law.

JONATHAN’S WORD: I don’t know if I agree with that. I agree that Harris was a particularly good choice for Moriarty. I think we’re going to be seeing a lot more of Harris in feature films. But I wouldn’t minimize the supporting roles in this film. Holmes’ brother, the gypsies, the henchman… they were all great. There wasn’t a bad role in this film. Yes, Downey is definitely the draw to this film, but the whole cast shined.

TODD’S WORD: The movie had so many good moments. My favorite was probably how Holmes helped Watson’s bride off the honeymoon train – Hilarious.

JONATHAN’S WORD: My favorite scene was probably the “horse” scene. I’d probably sit through the whole film just to watch that little two minute scene.

But here’s where I’ll be nitpicky. I really enjoyed the movie, it has so many great action scenes and funny moments, but personally, I think the film struggled weaving it all together. For much of the movie I was lost. I don’t think I cared too much, because I was entertained. But this film wouldn’t make my Top 5 of the year.

TODD’S WORD: I can’t agree. This would definitely be in my Top 5, and I’ll be adding this one to my movie collection…it’s “worth buying.”

JONATHAN’S WORD: I really enjoyed it. My family saw it together in the theater and they all loved it. My son owns the first on BluRay and says that he’s buying this one as well.

Even though it wasn’t my favorite, I’m going to say that it was definitely “theatre worthy.”

The only sex and nudity involves Holmes’ brother walking around his house nude, where stacks of books are strategically placed to conceal (and you’ll be wishing for more books). There is plenty of violence like a giant fish hook getting pushed through Holmes's shoulder, a few explosions, shootings and fighting scenes. There are also several h***’s and d***’s.

Conversation Starter
Three Simple Questions (with Answers You May Be Looking for):

Q: What’s the message/theme of this movie?

A: I loved the theme of friendship throughout the movie. Holmes needs Watson as much as Watson needs Holmes. And even when they fight and bicker, you get the sense that they really do value each other.

Q: How do you suppose we—as serious Christ-followers—should react to this movie?
A: What is a friend? What does the Bible say about friendship?

Hours before His arrest, Jesus talked to His apostles about love and friendship. In John 15:13-15 Jesus said: "Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends. You are my friends if you do whatever I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you.”

So how does Jesus describe friendship?

What are some ways Holmes and Watson display friendship?

Q: How can we move from healthy, Bible-based opinions about this movie to actually living out those opinions?
A: Let’s take a moment to think about our friends. How many friends would you say are true friends? Maybe you won’t need to lay your life down for one of your friends, but are you willing to lay down your rights for your friends? Are you willing to give up your “stuff” for your friends?

What is one thing you can do this week to be a better friend?

Jonathan McKee Jonathan McKee is the author of over twenty books including the brand new The Teen’s Guide to Social Media & Mobile Devices, If I Had a Parenting Do Over, 52 Ways to Connect with Your Smartphone Obsessed Kid; and the Amazon Best Seller - The Guy's Guide to God, Girls and the Phone in Your Pocket. He has over 20 years youth ministry experience and speaks to parents and leaders worldwide, all while providing free resources for youth workers and parents on his websites, and You can follow Jonathan on his blog, getting a regular dose of youth culture and parenting help. Jonathan, his wife Lori, and their three kids live in California.

Todd Pearage Todd Pearage is a movie buff at heart, but he's not your traditional film critic. Todd is a blue collar film geek, from his job years ago at Blockbuster to his heartfelt online movie reviews. But Todd isn't just a film geek. He has worked with middle and high school students since 1991 as a youth pastor and is currently on staff at Calvary Church in Souderton, PA. Todd and his wife Lynda have three children, Brianna, Caleb and Addyson.

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