It took a while, but I finally saw the new Sherlock Holmes, and I had a blast!
Anyone who knows this Movie Freak is aware that I am partial to both Robert Downey Jr. and director Guy Ritchie. However, some trepidation preceded viewing this film: What if it turned the legendary Sherlock Holmes saga on its head? Would there be too many anachronisms? Or would it simply beat a tired horse to its final grave?
Reading the reviews didn’t help. A few said that Holmes was just too buff, and the fight scenes would have Sir Arthur Conan Doyle turning in his grave. Some reviewers claimed that the Holmes character just wasn’t what he ought to be, with the signature deerstalker and pipe, the reticence and haughty righteousness. One even claimed that the characters of Holmes and Watson were sketched in such contemporary likeness of one another that all they needed to do was exchange clothes and props, and leads Downey and Jude Law could play each other’s roles.
Nonsense and poppycock! (I’ve always wanted to say that.)
The writing and acting alike are brilliant, and the film is true to its mystery-thriller genre. It’s a feast of rousing action, deductive reasoning, and camaraderie, perfectly peppered with comic relief. (In fact, I came away with only one peeve—the character of Watson’s fiancée, Mary, played by the oddly twitchy Kelly Reilly, seems too dislikable, conniving a creature to be with the good doctor; no wonder Holmes is displeased.)
I admit I was skeptical about the action sequences after viewing previews, but they fit right in, and Holmes’ combat style did suit the character. The wonderfully manipulated scenes of Holmes planning an attack, and then the audience seeing it in real time, depicted just how the genius tactician’s mind would devise the most efficiently method to take down an opponent. Marvelous!
There was a sufficiently dark and menacing baddie (Mark Strong), a Holmes-has-met-his-match love interest (Rachel McAdams), and the introduction of Professor Moriarty—which sets the stage for sequels, of course. And I, for one, hope there will be sequels.
In this humble reviewer’s eyes, Sherlock Holmes is a triumph in a sea of recent and upcoming disappointments. If half the planned remakes and resurrections on film are as good as this one, count me in to stand in line at the theater more often. Unfortunately, I think this one’s a rare gem.