Film Review – Sherlock Holmes

First I must start off with an admission, I have never read a Sherlock Holmes story and I have only watched one movie, so I came to this world with fresh eyes.

Sherlock Holmes starts as it means to go on, fast paced, humour and action, the famous duo are chasing down a villain who has been responsible for a series of killings. As Holmes (Robert Downey Jr) and Watson (Jude Law) run through the streets they meet up with Lestrade (Eddie Marsden) and close in on the villain with Holmes making wise cracks along the way.

 

The villain in question is one Lord Blackwood (Mark Strong) and he is up to all sorts, attempting to complete some sort of black magic ritual, and that is all but one of the main characters introduced before the main title sequence.

In what had to be no more than 15 minutes this film has all ready set the tone and pace of the film, you are going to get humour, action, detective work and arguing.

If you are not all ready smiling at the thought then you are not going to like this movie.

The story then jumps forward and we see the difference between Holmes on a case and Holmes with nothing to do, he is a mess and spiralling out of control.

What follows is a tale of mystery, black magic, sexual tension, jealousy and friendship.

After a while you get to meet the final member of the main cast Irene Adler (McAdams), a face from the past for Holmes that he seems interested with, she is not intimidated by Holmes one bit, in fact she has his number, she is a match for him, Holmes is impressed by her, this seems to be the key to his interest.

Right enough of the story round up, what did I think of the movie. I thought the story was very interesting; it was the right tone and theme for this point in time, it kept a good pace throughout with a good mix of action, humour and detective work, more than you would think from the trailer, they never dwelled on a point for too long, never giving you enough time to get bored with what is happening on screen, but long enough so you don’t get lost in the tale, unfortunately you can see certain events coming, but this did not lessen the story for me .

The story wraps up nicely, with nods to another story down the line involving the most famous villain in the world of Sherlock Holmes.

The film looks great; London circa the 1800’s looks great, it’s busy, dynamic, industrious, evolving and interesting.

For me this is Guy Ritchie’s best film, he keeps the movie moving at a good pace, the actors are on form, the story has plenty of action, there are times where Ritchie seems to not help himself and he puts his own mark on the film with mixed results, slow motion fighting, which I thought worked well, Watson shouting “NUT HIM” however made me cringe.

I thought the main cast were very strong; I share this sentiment with nearly all the actors that had a speaking role, with one exception, a moment where Holmes was using a gypsy woman to scare off Watson from marriage that did not work for me, honestly, it made me cringe.

I think that the casting was one of the major strengths of this film, nearly every actor who spoke was top class, I thought the casting Eddie Marsan as Inspector Lestrade was brilliant.

Robert Downey Jr played Homes perfectly, he showed us a man that is supremely intelligent, impatient with the rest of the world, probably because the rest of the world does not see things as he did, he was terrible to Watson, but at the same time cared deeply for him, miserable but at times charismatic and charming, he also got the detective side of Holmes down to a tee, when he was walking through Watson and the audience through his deductions they were impressive but at the same time when pointed out obvious if you just paid attention, which felt was the key to Holmes genius, it was one part a mind that could put together bits of information together in ways others could not, the other part being the he picks up on everything, there is a scene in a restaurant when he meets Watsons fiancé it was a perfect example of this.

I was sceptical about Jude Law, but he was on top form here, he played Watson just as good as Downey Jr played Holmes, a fiercely proud and loyal ex military man, who despite his anger (who can blame him) at the chaos the Holmes brings to his life and his often abrasive and insulting behaviour, would never leave his friend to fight the villains alone.

Rachael McAdams played her part well for the most part, as the one target that got away from Holmes, her highlights for me was when she was working through the case with Holmes, when she was flirting with Homes the chemistry was a little flat for me.

Mark Strong as Lord Blackwood was a great villain, menacing, charismatic and smart, the best mix for a great villain, playing with the fears still held by the people at this time for his own purposes.

Onto the really important issue how was the chemistry between Law and Downey Jr, if this did not work it would effectively kill the film, but not to worry, one word, perfect.  Downey Jr and Law were great together; they bickered with each other, to the point of Watson landing a deserving blow on Holmes, but at the same time supported each other when the time came, I got that these two cared and respected each other completely; they showed a true and very strong friendship.
If they had a hope when making this movie that it would get people reading Holmes who never had before, they got their wish with me; I have just started my first this week.

This is a fun movie and I hope there is going to be another.

Never thought I would be this nice about a Guy Ritchie movie.

9/10

GS Reviewer: Glen Davies

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