My familiarity of Sherlock Holmes comes strictly from basic common knowledge and reference talk. It seems like he is someone I just know about. I don’t remember reading any piece of literature nor seeing any film or television show besides YOUNG SHERLOCK HOLMES, but even before that I knew his story. I have no idea how I know he has a sidekick named Watson, he smokes a pipe, wears a coat and hat, solves crimes with logic (he’s basically CSI before they existed) and says lines like, “Elementary my dear Watson” (which apparently is a line never written by the author). Because of this ingrained knowledge, I know SHERLOCK HOLMES is a revamped more action packed version. But I would definitely say a version revamped for the better.
Sherlock Holmes (Robert Downey Jr.) is finishing his last case with his trusted friend and ally Dr. Watson (Jude Law), due to Watson’s new love and engagement. Their last case reopens when Lord Blackwood (Mark Strong) seems to rise from the dead after being hanged and pronounce dead by Watson himself. Blackwood continues his murder spree using dark magic and putting fear into everyone.
An obvious positive in this new SHERLOCK HOLMES is Robert Downey Jr. He makes every film infinite times better. Without him this grade drops. He delivers every line impeccably, with confidence and comedy. Jude Law also does great as Dr. Watson. The chemistry between the two is what really makes this film enjoyable and their relationship is surprisingly sweet. Regardless of how intelligent Holmes is, he fully relies on Watson to keep him grounded and becomes a bitter sad puppy when Watson continually attempts to “retire.” And although Holmes is definitely the lead, their partnership is more on equal ground. Rachel McAdams does a fine job as Irene Adler, a criminal who always seems to get the best of Holmes, mostly due to his infatuation with her, but she is used sparingly and is more invested in a B story line that is solely used to set up a sequel. Watson’s wife to be, Mary, played by Kelly Reilly, was the one weak acting point in the film. She kept making weird line deliveries and facial expressions. I’m very curious why the director allowed her these actions.
Another positive is the set design and costuming. Everything looked great and I wanted to wear the wardrobe. Specifically Watson’s, because I think I’m about the same build as Jude Law, except according to my mom, I’m far better looking. However, the best part of the film was the deducing. Holmes can deduce every minute detail. This is his greatest asset and flaw all at once. He can’t help but notice the slightest detail in a room and can figure out the deepest secret of a person because of it, which also doesn’t always make him the most popular person. What director, Guy Ritchie (SNATCH, ROCKNROLLA) did so well is show these deducing skills. Holmes would deduce the best way to hit a guy, as he spoke out his reasoning in his head the audience would visually see what he was about to do, then he would do it. In some cases, we would get the deduction after the event or action, explaining the process of his knowledge not only verbally but visually as well. These moments were done throughout the film and were by far the best aspect. Where the film seemed to falter was in the creativity of the action. Nothing is too memorable and the film falls into a typical format.
SHERLOCK HOLMES is definitely an entertaining piece of work but at times gets caught up in some of its action sequences. The film uses a portion of the film to set up a sequel so I have no doubt that will happen with Downey and Law on board. I had a good enough time that I will be in line for the next round.