MOVIE REVIEW: “Sherlock Holmes” stars Robert Downey Jr. (Iron Man, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang), Jude Law (Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore, The Grand Budapest Hotel), Rachel McAdams (Mean Girls, Doctor Strange ), Mark Strong (1917, Kingsman: The Secret Service), Eddie Marsan (Happy-Go-Lucky, The World’s End), Geraldine James (Arthure , Alice in Wonderland ), Kelly Reilly (Pride & Prejudice , Flight), and Robert Maillet (Pacific Rim, 300). It is directed by Guy Ritchie (Snatch, The Gentlemen), with the screenplay being written by Michael Robert Johnson (Mute, Pompeii), Anthony Peckham (Invictus, Don’t Say a Word), and Simon Kinberg (X-Men: Days of Future Past, Jumper).
When faced with the realization that an evil sorcerer they had hung may have rose from the grave, Detective Sherlock Holmes (Downey Jr.) and his partner Dr. John Watson (Law) trek a treacherous path of deception and peril.
Time to dip my toe into the world of Sherlock Holmes. It’s a character that has withstood the test of time, winning the hearts of many people across many demographics; particularly my generation (the 20-year-olds). Most fans strongly recommend the BBC series with Benedict Cumberbatch, but I thought I’d give Robert Downey Jr.’s rendition a try. Not like his films weren’t pressed upon me either.
Being that I have little to no expertise on the character of Holmes (aside from Ian McKellen’s turn in “Mr. Holmes”), I have no grasp on how to properly rate this iteration amongst the rest of the pack. However, as a film itself, “Sherlock Holmes” dazzles, with an upbeat, controlled-chaos of a story, wonderful performances, and plenty of action to keep you engaged. It’s an almost non-stop thrill ride of grand proportions, as Guy Ritchie brings us into a heavily CGI’d world of Old England (with effects that teeter outdated) with a villain who deals in dark sorcery. The movie can best be compared to the “Pirates of the Caribbean” flicks: a simply smashing time in both character and scope.
Downey Jr.’s portrayal of the famed detective is a sincere treat. He steals the show, and is brilliantly paired with Jude Law, who balances him out gracefully. I loved watching these two bicker, and in creating a rift between them the story was given great character weight. Downey’s Sherlock is chaotic; a beautiful mess of a mind that we get to explore through sequences that showcase his various, calculated predictions. It’s a style that has made these movies well-known (aside from the character himself), and Ritchie capitalizes on it to the max. The pacing is fast and the camera moves throughout the space with ease. It emulates Holmes’ mind well and separates the film from being a mere copy-and-paste of versions of old.
The secondary performances in this were also swell, with fine turn-ins by Rachel McAdams, Geraldine James, Eddie Marsan, and the villain of the tale, Mark Strong. Strong did a stellar job and was a solid gel to Downey as a formidable foe. He understood the assignment, and had some rather wild sequences in which he was doing some really dark magic. I never figured Holmes to be a character to associate with villains of the dark arts (then again, I don’t have much knowledge on the character anyway), but as the narrative progressed, it made more sense as to why this fit into the world. Even without that understood at the get-go, it provided a unique approach to this world regardless.
From a filmmaking standpoint, this crew did a bang-up job. Hans Zimmer’s score is pure masterclass and was so odd that it actually worked, giving new life to the overall structure of the film. I really enjoyed the action sequences and the stylistic choices regarding Sherlock’s thought process. The story manages to execute twists and turns well, though I will say that my viewing experience wasn’t the most ideal. I split it into two, watching the first half, taking a long nap, and then watching the second half (I was exhausted). So… I couldn’t tell you how the pacing truly was… nor can I quite remember what I didn’t care for about it (as I also saw it at the beginning of this month and didn’t get around to reviewing it until now). However, it’s not an all-around spectacular piece of cinema. The visual effects wavered and McAdams character could’ve had a bit more appeal; that’s about all I can recall.
Overall, “Sherlock Holmes” is a fun piece of cinema worth recommending. Downey and Law are fantastic in these iconic roles, and the style that Ritchie brings to the table makes it stand out. If you are looking for some quality entertainment to wind down the day with, this is a solid choice. FINAL SCORE: 88%= Juicy Popcorn
Here is the trailer:
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