“Are you sure you want to play this game?” asks Mad Men’s Jared Harris, oozing aristocratic evil here as Sherlock Holmes nemesis Moriarty. What game is that? Why, the Game Of Shadows, the particular rules of which are never quite elucidated in this first full trailer for Guy Ritchie’s second explosion-y trip through the Victorian era. Though, apparently it involves plenty of slow-motion karate chopping, sepia tone, and more of those testy, teasing exchanges between Jude Law’s Watson and Robert Downey Jr.’s Holmes, whose shared scene here involving a cross-dressing Downey should fuel numerous slash-fic fantasies to come.
This Sherlock Holmes formula of adding modern, hyper-stylized action and buddy-cop banter to musty period pieces may seem a bit, well, formulaic now, having influenced seemingly every literary or historical adaptation since then—and the sequel only seems to have upped the dosage, with The Millennium Trilogy’s ass-kicking Noomi Rapace swapped in for the sweet but misplaced Rachel McAdams as Holmes’ love interest. But you can’t fault the original for its imitators, and like the first film, A Game Of Shadows also promises to be a lot of fun, provided you can figure out how to play. Maybe the longest shadow wins? Whoever has the most creatively shaped shadow? The movie better explain this.