Guy Ritchie now has his franchise. And Robert Downey Jr. has another one under his belt along with Iron Man.
The director of Lock Stock, Rock’n’Rolla, and more importantly Snatch has finally hit the bulls-eye, and he does it with his dirt grit style he is notorious for. Which I think may put him in way over his head as quality is concerned but he paints a much more elegant picture for Sherlock Holmes purists than the commercials are letting on to believe. This action packed, rock and roll, Michael Bay-looking blast fest is actually quite on the contrary a very character driven, and plot thick film. Holmes has been redesigned by Ritchie as a new, borderline sociopath who is so intelligent that the comforts of mundane life, drive him to nearly insane projects and behavior. His rock after all being the scene stealing Watson (Jude Law) as his bromance savvy counterpart on the verge of engagement.
Early on at the start of the film the are coming to a close in a seemingly easy and quick case, but as it unfolds the supernatural nature of events is turning London upside down with fear. Mark Strong plays the elusive Lord Blackwood, a master of the dark arts who after his execution, rises from the grave much to Holmes and Watson’s chagrin and people begin to die. So back on the case they spring and hunt down clues using powers of deduction and old fashioned science. These are the aspects of the film that scream of the old books and black and white films such as Hound of the Baskervilles, you’re seeing magic and mayhem, but Holmes purists know that these smoke and mirrors will come to an end by the end using sheer…Elementary.
A few of the more clever and exciting scenes inject vigor and edge into fight scenes the way the Matrix did the bullet time motion and the slow motion combat. RDJ in a few of the more noteworthy brawls deducts his opponents strengths and weakness and narrates to the audiences the steps and measure he’ll take and in that exact order, execute them accordingly to take out his far larger and superior adversary. At that point they speed up the scene and like a bullet blast out of a gun show us, as Holmes says, the way fight unfolds as he does precisely what he says. These clever and often funny points take the old fashioned delights of the boring and starched brilliance of the character of Sherlock Holmes and shred him up, rub some dirt on him, and allow Downey to have liberties with him that take Holmes into the 21st century. This movie is sure to make a mint and this will ensure us with sequels, as it ends with a pseudo cliffhanger. Rachel McAdams plays the charming love interest to Holmes but has a light role that could have been filled by any cute actress with some skill.
The movie was delightful with just a smidgen of “too long”, had they shaved off 10 minutes it would have been downright perfect. Sherlock Holmes has just been ushered into a new generation and with this savvy and damaged new approach on his character,and is sure to be a hit with younger audiences and older ones who take the time and give this movie a chance.