Guy Ritchie’s second foray into the world of Sherlock Holmes, in Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, opens with a bang. The first question one should ask about a sequel is if it lives up to the first one (actually, the first question should be whether or not to make a sequel). A Game of Shadows definitely lives up to the first Holmes movie, not the least because of Robert Downey, Jr. and Jude Law.

The villain is much realer and more sinister, in that he is a respected individual with a twisted soul. Moriarty is perhaps the most dangerous type of villain–the one who doesn’t dirty his own hands, but has minions to do his will.

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows is perhaps even more English than the first movie, and has even more intense fight sequences. The addition of Stephen Fry as Mycroft Holmes was brilliant, as well.

It’s a wonderful movie, made better by the excellent writing. One of my favorite quotes is, “Don’t be a dingy bird, bad people do bad things because they can!” The movie is full of lines like this, quotable outside the movie, yet even better in context.

Treat yourself to a Christmas present and watch A Game of Shadows.