Following the success of 2009’s surprisingly entertaining Sherlock Holmes, Robert Downey Jr’s manic, mischievous, unexpectedly kick-ass hero returns for A Game of Shadows, a sequel that is even more knockabout and irreverent than its predecessor.

This time Downey Jr’s dandyish, feline Holmes and Jude Law’s long-suffering Doctor Watson are trying to thwart criminal mastermind Professor Moriarty (Jared Harris supplying quietly sinister, understated villainy), the fiendish brain behind a wave of bombings and assassinations across Europe.

Along the way, Ritchie stages the action with rumbustious vigour, but those offbeat touches that seemed charmingly quirky first time around are now in danger of turning irritating, with Downey Jr’s Holmes spending so much time prancing around in disguise in the film’s first half that it’s a wonder the plot ever gets going.

When it does there’s precious little for Girl with the Dragon Tattoo‘s Noomi Rapace to do in her role as a gypsy fortune-teller who aids the duo in their mission. But if the notion of Downey Jr and co going gleefully over the top holds no fear, then you should find A Game of Shadows rollicking good fun.

Released on Blu-ray, Triple play, DVD & digital download on Monday 14th May by Warner Bros Entertainment. Pre-order here

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