Sherlock Holmes: It’s Elementary…But Fun!

31 12 2009

Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes has been touted as the start to a new film franchise.  With an all-star cast (Robert Downey, Jr. as Sherlock Holmes, Jude Law as Dr. Watson, Mark Strong as Lord Blackwood, Rachel McAdams as Forgettable-Female-Lead), it has all the necessary ingredients for a series of sequels.  Here’s the breakdown:

The movie starts with Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson catching secret society member and master occultist Lord Blackwood (who has been responsible for a series of murders).  Blackwood’s subsequent execution seems to be the end of another case for Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson…that is until Lord Blackwood rises from the dead.

What follows is an action-packed jaunt through Victorian England as Holmes and Watson try to solve the Mystery of the Undead Dark Magic User.  Irene Adler (Rachel McAdams) shows up as Holmes’ ex-lover from New Jersey (hence the obvious lack of British accent), and acts as a tie between the intrepid sleuth and the shadowy Professor Moriarty (presumably the big baddie for later installments).

The Monkey: Robert Downey, Jr. is always fun to watch, although I couldn’t help but notice his turn as Sherlock was basically Tony Stark circa 1890.  Jude Law was surprisingly good in a smaller role than he usually plays.  Mark Strong delivered his dark and ominous lines with sufficient malice and crooked-tooth evil.  The action was suitably suspenseful, the mystery suitably mysterious.  The best part of the movie, however, was Hans Zimmer’s score.  In a word, perfect!  The banjo theme set the tone for the whole movie, and, I think, the whole series.  Playful yet dark, seedy yet sophisticated.

The Weasel: Being the start to a series, I assumed the audience would be treated to a bit more back story.  How did Watson and Holmes meet?  What is their history?  The movie hints at Watson’s military career, but it’s never explored.  The movie felt more like a second or third installment, instead of an establishing movie.  Rachel McAdams was sorely underused.  They could have cut her character completely with hardly any damage done to the plot.  She deserved better (the introduction of Professor Moriarty hints that she will have a bigger part to play in later movies).

As a whole, Sherlock Holmes delivers: fun action scenes, humour (with an “ou”) and an amazing score.  I wish there would have been more of an “origins” vibe, but I’m excited nonetheless to see how the characters grow in subsequent films.

3 Death Stars out of 5

What did you think?  Tell me what you liked and didn’t like about Sherlock Holmes in the comments!

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4 responses

31 12 2009
Nicole Parcinovics

Loved the review, spot-on, old chap! (but where was the shout out to the “VR” that I’m sure many more like ourselves were wondering about?) Can’t wait for the review of Nine!! Be Italian!! 😉

4 01 2010
Dustin

Good point! For those who are curious, Sherlock shoots the letters “VR” into his wall at one point in the movie, an homage to Victoria Regina, a patriotic nod to Queen Victoria.
And come back soon for my review of “Nine”! 🙂

5 01 2010
Tina

I thought the movie was a fun romp through old England, and I agree, RDJr. is ALWAYS fun to watch. I thought the story of Watson and his fiance was a bit unnecessary, but overall, thoroughly enjoyed it. Holmes’ explanations of Lord Blackwood’s “magic” was particularly enjoyable.

5 01 2010
Cal

Amazing movie! It was the kind of movie that constantly made you think, not only about the mystery behind the plot but also forced you to stay engaged to the dialogue. There was so much of it and literally every word was important. I love those kind of movies.
I love this blog!

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