from BROOKSVILLE, FL
Reviewed on 1/22/2015...
I really enjoyed this movie. Fast pace action, some humor, lots of excitement.
1 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
Reviewed on 2/17/2014...
Guy Ritchie re-imagines the famed sleuth as a 19th century action hero (played by Robert Downey Jr.) in this overlong, muddled mystery with lots of distracting CGI. Downey and Jude Law (as Holmes ' long suffering sidekick, Dr. Watson) make a good team and there are a few cool action sequences but overall this was disappointingly average. I won't be bothering with the sequel ("A Game of Shadows").
The movie might have been better if the roles were reversed, with Law playing Holmes and Downey as Watson.
0 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
(Turfseer) from NEW YORK, NY
Reviewed on 9/16/2010...
Basil Rathbone rolls over in his grave with new depiction of Sherlock Holmes as wacky Bohemian
*** This review contains spoilers ***
Here is the newfangled Sherlock Holmes, courtesy action director Guy Ritchie. Ritchie initially wanted to cast a younger actor for the part of Sherlock Holmes but settled on Robert Downey Jr., after envisioning the new Holmes as a Bohemian artist type. This fit right in with Downey's belief that Holmes is supposed to be "quirky and kind of nuts", an interpretation which was suggested to him by his real life wife, Susan Downey. What appealed to Downey about this interpretation of Holmes is "quirky and kind of nuts" is the way he views himself!
Now I have no problem with Holmes being depicted as eccentric (which is precisely the way Sir Arthur Conan Doyle conceived him) but there was also a certain meticulousness and dignity which Downey runs away from in his interpretation. Start with Downey's unshaved look throughout the picture—would the meticulous Holmes allow himself to look so scruffy while everyone else in proper Victorian society is so well manicured? Despite his amazing powers of deductive reasoning and ability to solve cases, Victorian society would never accept a Holmes that refuses to conform to its basic norms. I'm also thinking of the ludicrous opening scene at the Baker Street apartment where Holmes is shooting bullets into the wall in an attempt to develop some kind of early 'silencer'. Can you imagine Basil Rathbone, from the original Sherlock Holmes movies, shooting at the walls and terrorizing his landlady and the other lodgers in the building?
And isn't it beneath Holmes to be so petty in his relationship to his perennial sidekick, Watson? The scene at the restaurant where he brings Watson's fiancé to tears and causes her to walk out, just seems so out of character for Holmes. Yes, he's supposed to be cold and insensitive at times, but that happens when he becomes absorbed in attempting to solve his cases. It should not apply to a social gathering where he boorishly undermines the relationship between a close colleague and his fiancé.
The childish interplay between Holmes and Watson goes on for a good two thirds of the movie. I fail to see the humor in such scenes as inside the carriage when Holmes teases Watson by keeping the money he won gambling the night before (Watson of course is an inveterate gambler) and Watson then (tit for tat) throws Holmes' vest outside the carriage window. Both Robert Downey and Jude Law both seem to offer up the same over the top interpretations for Holmes and Watson and I found I couldn't distinguish very well between the two characters. I much prefer the buffoonish Nigel Bruce as Watson opposite Basil Rathbone in those old movies since at least the contrast between the two was evident.
Ritchie's plot runs into a great deal of trouble for the first two thirds of the movie due to slow pacing. There's an attempt to pick things up with a couple of action scenes which grow tiresome. I had no trouble with the early scene of Downey as action hero in the boxing ring which Ritchie claims is derived from the original Sherlock Holmes stories; but then there's a long drawn out sequence where Holmes and Watson battle an evil giant and then end up destroying a ship while in dry dock. Then there's the scene with Irene Adler interacting with a hidden Professor Moriarty; we end up seeing the scene twice since Holmes ends up explaining what he deduces from his confrontation with the evil Professor to Watson.
Nor is the rest of the story very exciting leading to the climax. Reordan, the man Adler has been looking for, turns up dead in Lord Blackwell's coffin, despite Blackwell being hanged earlier for the murder of five women. Then Blackwell murders his father who heads the Temple of the Four Orders.
Finally things begin to pick up when Holmes confronts Home Secretary Lord Coward. In one of the best scenes in the movie, Holmes tricks Coward into revealing that Blackwood and company intend to wipe out all members of the House of Lords. Holmes is initially brought to Coward in handcuffs but it's later revealed that Inspector Lestrade has given Holmes the keys to escape. Lestrade, by the way, reminds me of the excellent late actor, Donald Pleasance, and ably acquits himself in the thankless role of second fiddle to Sherlock Holmes.
For those sticklers who find all of the evil Blackwell's machinations to be completely implausible (such as how he manages evade detection in staging his own death by hanging), I cannot disagree; however, the film is not supposed to be taken too literally or seriously. Ritchie finally gets things moving at the climax and I liked how Holmes dispatches Blackwell on the under construction Tower Bridge. I'm not so sure however, how Irene Adler survives that fall after Blackwell pushes her off the bridge.
For purists such as myself, the scenes where Holmes uses his deductive reasoning (such as his ability to follow a carriage's path while blindfolded) are quite welcome. Nonetheless, with Robert Downey choosing to play Holmes for a good part of the time as a lout who resembles a drunkard and a completely nondescript Watson who serves up no significant contrasts to his wily colleague, the new Sherlock Holmes lacks the main ingredient that has been found to be offered up by some of its predecessors: charm!
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