Sherlock Holmes: Movie Review
Cast: Robert Downey Jr, Jude Law, Rachel McAdams, Mark
Strong, Eddie Marsan
Director: Guy Ritchie
Ah, the quintessential hero could really only be played by the quintessential
So it is with this new take on Sherlock Holmes which sees Robert Downey Jr
taking on the mantle of the detective.
Upon capturing evil Lord Blackwood (played with the usual flair by Mark
Strong), Holmes (Downey Jr) is taunted by his promises that it's not over.
Things get even more surreal when Blackwood apparently rises from the dead
and begins to terrorise London.
And despite this being Holmes and Watson's last case together (Watson's off
to be married), the pair soon find themselves pulled back into the English
criminal underworld as Blackwood's true machinations begin to unfurl.
As if that wasn't bad enough for Holmes, his one true love, the untrustworthy
Irene Adler (Rachel McAdams) is back on the scene - and it appears she's got
plenty of secrets to keep Holmes intrigued.
Sherlock Holmes is a good reintroduction into the characters - but I have to
admit, I felt much of the muddled plot was there simply to serve as exposition
ready for the sequel (once you've seen it you'll understand why - and there's no
That said, there's much to admire about this latest rendition of Holmes -
Robert Downey Jr and Jude Law have an excellent partnership as Holmes and Watson
respectively; the pair are like brothers and Holmes can't resist pulling Watson
back in the more he tries to get out of the crimesolving game.
Downey Jr makes a great Holmes - and director Ritchie plays his Holmes as a
bored genius; Sherlock's feckless and restless when he doesn't have a case to
solve - and he's never happier than when he has a riddle to deal with. Once
again, Downey Jr proves the screen presence - although it's mainly thanks to his
foil of a human Jude Law that the partnership works so well. The pair's
bickering and squabbling clearly hides a deep love - and Holmes is jealous that
he's about to lose his long time companion to a woman. It's these kind of
character tics which really make Holmes quirky and reinvents him for the 21st
Mark Strong is as good as ever in the character role of Lord Blackwood - his
taunting and teasing of Holmes clearly does a lot to show once again that Strong
is an incredibly menacing and versatile actor onscreen.
Guy Ritchie's also brought that inevitable sense of Lock Stock cinematic
style to ancient London - I had to admire the way he used his traditional slow
mo shots to show how Holmes deals quickly with a problem in his head before
physically dealing with it. In one fight scene, Holmes works out mentally how he
will incapacitate his opponent through a series of slow mo cut shots - then
seconds later, we see the physical action. It's a great way to demonstrate how
Holmes' intellect and quick thinking works.
If there's to be a criticism of Sherlock Holmes (other than the film feeling
like it's getting us ready for Sherlock 2) then it's that thanks to a slightly
muddled plot, it never quite crackles and fizzes as well as it should - witty
dialogue, quick repartie and some good (at times comedy) action pieces
(including a very novel set piece on a dry docked boat) work well but the story
drags it down slightly.
Holmes is clearly where the heart is, and Downey Jr's already said he will
play the role again - so it's clear that the game is indeed afoot.