Saturday, December 26, 2009

Movie Review: Sherlock Holmes

Reinterpreting a classic character is always going to be met with mixed response. The only way to pull this off is to boldly pursue a new vision while retaining the recognizable core of the character, which is what Guy Ritchie's Sherlock Holmes does so well.

Robert Downey, Jr. is Sherlock Holmes, and he knocks it out of the park. The film deals with the supernatural Lord Blackwood, who is at the beginning of the film arrested by Sherlock whilst performing a human sacrifice. Blackwood is sentenced to death and hung, however the following day, Lord Blackwood rises from the grave and puts into motion a plan that will completely warp the fabric of life as we know it.  Of course it is up to Sherlock Holmes to stop him, alongside his legendary sidekick, Dr. Watson, played by Jude Law.

This Sherlock Holmes film is less of a mystery and more about the ride, which might disappoint a few fans of the famed detective, but it's what I enjoyed so much more about this adaptation than previous adaptations of this classic character. The film does have a mystery, but rather than giving the audience the hints and clues throughout the film to try and let us solve the mystery alongside Holmes, we literally see and hear Holmes's thoughts as they're happening and we go along with him as he solves the mystery.  This really comes through in the scene where Holmes pummels a Big Guy whilst in an underground street fight.

For me, Sherlock Holmes was very different than the trailers. The trailers paint it as a stupid amusement park ride made up of cheap thrills and explosions.  While the movie does have some fun action sequences, this is not a correct portrait. In actuality, this film has had some thought behind the creation of the story. The script is filled with highly clever dialogue, and the witty banter between Holmes and Watson is hilarious, not to mention the chemistry between Downey, Jr. and Jude Law. Then the villain, Lord Blackwood, is the first badguy I've seen in a longtime that legitimately creeped me out. Blackwood is mysterious and evil, being given that all-evil moment that I am always looking for out of a villain when he makes a man spontaneously combust!  The only weak link to this film is Rachel McAdams. She just doesn't really work in her role as Holmes's love interest, Irene Adler, although her character does set-up a potential sequel. Also, the action in the film is fairly generic, never having that memorable action sequence that would allow one to put this film alongside movies like Star Wars or Indiana Jones.

Overall, Sherlock Holmes is an extremely fun time at the movies. Robert Downey, Jr. is charming and lovable as the eccentric detective, and turning Sherlock into an action hero actually works extremely well. Sequels are definitely desired.

I give Sherlock Holmes a 9 out of 10!

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