Review: Sherlock Holmes
PLOT:After narrowly rescuing a young woman from a dangerous man named Lord Blackwood, Watson and Sherlock Holmes are on the verge of taking separate roads. But when the recently deceased Blackwood is seen by an eyewitness, emerging from his resting place, the two reunite to solve the mystery. Along the way, Holmes is reunited with a former flame who only causes more of a challenge for the legendary detective. Will Holmes and Watson be able to crack the case? I think you can figure that one out.
Robert Downey Jr. has been on fire lately. With all the personal battles that he has overcome, it is fantastic to see him at the top of his game. Much like his performance in IRON MAN, Downey Jr. continues to shine as the legendary detective Sherlock Holmes alongside Jude Law as his trusty sidekick Watson. Both of these fine gents play off each other like champs. The best thing that can be said about the latest incarnation is that whenever these two are together, it is simply brilliant. In fact, these two are so good that sadly, the film itself feels a bit adequate in comparison. But more on that later. If this becomes another franchise, I hope that the filmmakers stick to what works and don’t bother with the pointless and hopelessly miscast Rachel McAdams.
SHERLOCK HOLMES as a whole is merely a decent time at the movies. Even the story itself feels like a period piece version of a “Monk” episode. It all begins with Sherlock investigating a notorious Satanist and criminal named Lord Blackwood (Mark Strong). Once Holmes, Watson and the incompetent police department save a would be victim from Blackwood, they finally put an end to his misdeeds. But after his execution, evidence points to a supernatural return. Holmes must put together clues with his trained and observant eye, and find out the mystery surrounding Blackwood’s return from the dead. All the while, a spunky old flame follows along wasting too much of Holmes time. At least Watson’s lady love seems a perfect fit, thanks to the talented Kelly Reilly.
As far as movies of this ilk, I did have a good enough time with all the intricacies of the story. While not necessarily that deep, it is still a decent enough ride. But director Ritchie keeps the pace moving up until somewhere within the second act. The problem begins with the previously mentioned acquaintance of Holmes, a femme fatale named Irene Adler. And as far as performances go, McAdams isn’t exactly terrible, but she is simply unnecessary. I didn’t believe for a second that she had any real history with Sherlock, and I’m absolutely sure that another pretty actress might‘ve worked a little better. It might have been a lot more interesting using somebody closer to Downey Jr.’s age. But here, McAdams is bland and pointless. I felt more of an attraction between Holmes and Watson than I did with Holmes and Adler. Intentional? I doubt that.
As far as style goes, there is certainly a ton of it going on. Frankly, the trailer for the film didn’t sit right with me. It looked like it was just pure CGI with not much more to offer. But happily, it is not nearly as dizzying and obnoxious as it looked. I appreciated the feel of the film and the fact that not every sequence is a heart pounding action set piece. Sure there are a few of them, and for the most part, they work quite well. But Ritchie also creates an impressive and visually striking London. While it feels a tad modern, it still fulfills the landscape that Sir Arthur Conan-Doyle originally conjured up with his classic stories. And when CGI is used, for the most part it works in the film’s favor. This is certainly not a failure by any means, but it really could’ve been tightened up a bit.
This is basically a satisfying enough blockbuster that slightly missed the mark. If it is successful, whoever continues the story should really focus on what works. This is a film that is carried by the two leads. Both Law and Downey Jr. really keep it moving, even when the script slows down with a few too many obvious sequences. But there is certainly a story here that could be continued. While it isn’t nearly as bad as THE LEAGUE OF EXTRAORIDARY GENTLEMEN, it's actually pretty fun, but there is certainly room for improvement the next time around. My rating 7/10 -- JimmyO