After finally catching serial killer and occult "sorcerer" Lord Blackwood, legendary sleuth Sherlock Holmes and his assistant Dr. Watson can close yet another successful case. But when Blackwood mysteriously returns from the grave and resumes his killing spree, Holmes must take up the hunt once again. Contending with his partner's new fiancée and the dimwitted head of Scotland Yard, the dauntless detective must unravel the clues that will lead him into a twisted web of murder, deceit, and black magic - and the deadly embrace of temptress Irene Adler. Written by
The Massie Twins
After Holmes recreates the ritual on his own, as he describes it to Watson and Irene Adler, he holds his spotted stick to his forehead for a few seconds. This is a reference to the story "The Speckled Band", in which a speckled snake wraps itself around the villain's head and bites him. See more »
Following Holmes' leap from the House of Parliament, a statue of Queen Boudicca can be seen at the end of Westminster Bridge. The statue was erected in 1902, 8 years after the opening of Tower Bridge, which is partially built in the film. See more »
Head cocked to the left, partial deafness in ear: first point of attack. Two: throat; paralyze vocal chords, stop scream. Three: got to be a heavy drinker, floating rib to the liver. Four: finally, drag in left leg, fist to patella. Summary prognosis: unconscious in ninety seconds, martial efficacy quarter of an hour at best. Full faculty recovery: unlikely.
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Scenes from the film become illustrations over the end credits. See more »
I've finally figured out Guy Ritchie's fatal weakness as a filmmaker. He doesn't actually care about character, theme, or even storytelling. He just wants to be cool. He only wants characters that quirky, badasses, or sex godesses. Because they're cool. He employs flashy cutting, hyper-stylized cinematography, and fractured time lines. Because, they're cool!
This worked for the bonkers Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels, and Snatch. Those movies were cool and it felt natural, easy. Things took a turn for the ugly with Swept Away, this decade's Isthar. Revolver was dreadful, and RocknRolla dances in your faces practically screaming "look how cool I am" and is then forgotten before you've even unlocked the car to leave the theater.
Which brings us to Ritchie's desperate-to-please, big-Hollywood style stab at Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's timeless icon. The production values are excellent. Period-appropriate London is completely convincing. Downey's Holmes captures the mad intensity of Doyle's character, withdrawn, depressed, and self destructive when he's has nothing to occupy is never ceasing ming, burning life and frantic energy when the case does arrive. He does however, straight up mumble for half the picture, rendering what might of been neat instances of observation/deduction/knowledge, but I couldn't tell. Couldn't understand him.
Ah, the case. When it comes to adaptations, remakes, re-imaginings, etc, I'm a pretty forgiving fellow, as long as the soul is intact. Change the race, change the gender, change the setting, but don't lose the essence. The mystery, the case, is the soul of a Sherlock Holmes tale and I'm afraid this is where Ritchie's film falls flat. Sure, there's something dastardly afoot, but solving the puzzle is beyond the audience to predict. We're not made a part of the unraveling. Stuff goes on that we don't understand, and it's all explained in the end in smash cut flash backs, filling us in with details that were never foreshadowed, many of them feeling like afterthoughts to dig the screenplay out of the hole it dug for itself. Doyle's stories invite us to narrow our brows and read carefully. One feels include in the unraveling. We're right there with Watson (who in this movie, is quite spry for a man with a permanent war injury) Here, Ritchie holds out on us, keeping the mechanics of the mystery entirely to himself. The larger mystery afoot exists for no other purpose than to make a sequel.
Why such failure in maintaining the soul of Holmes? Because Ritchie doesn't care about the mystery. He drowns the film in cool, in showy camera angles, manically (and confusingly cut) action and the whole affair is drummed up with buddy-movie comedic angle that falls flat. It's just not funny. The shifts in tone from funny, to mysterious, to thrilling, to dramatic, are jarring, barely held together at the seams. It's ultimately a crushing bore, lacking any sort of narrative momentum.
Guy Ritchie has undeniable talent as stylist. He'll can make a worthwhile movie. No one who works that hard with that much raw talent will just fade away. He needs to another round at bat to prove that too us again.
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