Sherlock Holmes (2009) Poster

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It saddens me ...
paperback_wizard26 December 2009
... not the movie, but the number of self-professed Holmes aficionados who apparently have no knowledge of Holmes. For the record, Holmes was a miserable, irresponsible drug addict who did indeed sleep on the floor, insult his best friend, experiment on his dog, and never ever wore a deerstalker's cap (at least, not until television was invented). He was a brawler who practiced martial arts and was as likely to slum around in the filthiest of rags as he was a suit.

It wasn't until after Doctor Watson took him in hand that he truly refined himself and became a "respectable" member of society. And yes, we can tell that this movie takes place THAT early in their relationship because Watson has not yet married his wife (the retconning did annoy me, too, by the way, but you just can't avoid a little re-imagining here and there).

Speaking of unavoidable, Irene Adler, Holmes' one uncapturable (is that a word?), simply had to be cast as a potential love interest. The flirting, the romance, and the near-make-out session were irresistible to the director (and to all of the audience who're honest with themselves).

That being said, I felt Robert Downey, Jr. played Sherlock Holmes to perfection. His characteristic caustic attitude towards Lestrade and even Watson at times was exactly how I'd imagine him. He gives several summations of his observations and deductions that brought Holmes to life in an almost unparalleled way. His fight scenes (preceded the first few times by superhuman calculations) show both the mental and physical sides of Holmes in ways that Watson's notes can't quite convey, but at which they constantly hint.

As for Watson himself, Jude Law delivered a wonderful performance. I was a little skeptical of how well he fought, given Watson's wartime injury, but his character and demeanor were entirely on the nose. His loyalty to Holmes despite his frustrations with him could not have been captured more expertly, I feel. No one, no matter how patient or forgiving, could endure Holmes forever without the occasional confrontation. The original Holmes, after all, was not above insulting his best friend or even deriding his deductive capabilities at times. Nevertheless, Watson never could abandon his friend in his time of need.

This version (or vision, if you will) of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's greatest creation may be more swashbuckling, more thrilling, and more edgy than any other incarnation, but that doesn't make it any less faithful to the original. Aside from a little revisionist history in the cases of the female leads, nothing is that far out of the ordinary; and no amount of references to Madonna will change that.
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They Finally Got It Exactly Right!
SylvesterFox00727 December 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Nearly hundreds of actors have played Sherlock Holmes and his sidekick Dr. Watson, and it may seem rash to call Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law the best Holmes-and-Watson-duo so far. But I've been a Sherlock Holmes fan my whole life, and most of the portrayals I've seen of the character only focus on an aspect or two of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's character. In Guy Ritchie's film, as in Doyle's "canon", Sherlock Holmes is an avid boxer, a martial artist, a dabbler in many sciences, and a master of disguise. Most importantly, he's an expert in logic and deduction. He playfully torments his housekeeper Ms. Hudson (Geraldine James) and shares an antagonistic but symbiotic relationship with police Inspector Lestrade (Eddie Marsan).

The movie opens with Holmes and Watson apprehending serial killing Satanist Lord Blackwood (played broodingly by Mark Strong). Blackwood is executed, but when he seemingly rises from the dead, the deductive duo must determine whether it's a supernatural occurrence or if there's a logical explanation. It's exactly the type of mystery Doyle would have devised, with plenty of twists and opportunities for Holmes to show off his genius as he races to stop a plot to take over England and (gasp!) America. Everything from the experiments Holmes performs in his Baker Street flat to his climatic revelation of the mystery on the Tower Bridge seems perfectly in line with Doyle's writing.

One of the only departures from the canon that bothered me was Sherlock's introduction to Dr. Watson's fiancée, Mary Morstan, played as a delicate English rose by Kelly Reilly. In the stories, Mary was Holmes' client in "The Sign of Four" before Holmes first encountered Irene Adler (Rachel McAdams) in "A Scandal in Bohemia." Then again, the continuity of the stories was rarely important to filmmakers, or even to Sir Arthur, so I'm just nitpicking.

As a film on its own merits, "Sherlock Holmes" is almost perfect. The movie's opening shot grabs you, and Guy Ritchie's directing stays gripping all the way through the end titles. His version of Victorian London is moody and atmospheric. Hans Zimmer's quirky score blends well with the film's tone and Downey Jr.'s off-kilter Holmes. Meanwhile, Jude Law transforms Dr. Watson from the bumbling comic relief of most movies into a cool, competent sidekick. Perhaps owing to his own considerable acting chops, he's the rare Watson who manages to be as interesting and watchable as Holmes. When he leaps into action, he relies on a sword-cane and a trusty revolver, while Sherlock favors a riding crop (which die-hard fans will recall was his preferred method of self-defense in the canon). Rachel McAdams manages to tweak Sherlock's classic adversary into a feisty action heroine. All the while, another familiar adversary skulks in the shadows.

Even when Sherlock Holmes feels a little bit more like James Bond, he doesn't feel any less like Sherlock Holmes. Ritchie finds a way to depict Sherlock's fighting as a mental exercise as much as it's a physical feat. In the same way, though "Sherlock Holmes" is grander and more commercial than Guy Ritchie's usual films, it doesn't feel any less like Guy Ritchie.
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A New Sherlock: the Genius Action Hero
ramin9918 December 2010
This movie is entertaining and the big budget showed in the costumes, set decorations, the CGI, etc. all this creating a 19th century atmosphere which was very pleasing to my eyes. The action sequences kept me mindlessly entertained, and the Sherlock Holmes frivolity and eccentricities was somewhat amusing. Now let's see what's bad about this: Firstly, the true Sherlock Holmes is not a fighter, he uses his mind to solve problems instead. He and Dr. Watson have reserved mutual respect for each other, especially Dr. Watson towards his enigmatic friend admiring all the while his amazing intellectual capabilities. I can't believe how bad their relationship is portrayed in the movie, like two stoned teenagers constantly fighting. The Sherlock Holmes character is the major problem with this production: although funny the why was he portrayed like a genius a la Mozart with unkempt hair and disorderly attire is beyond me. The action sequences I guess are a compulsory necessity in a big-budgeted production like this in order to attract teens and make more money for the studios. I blame the success of the Indiana Jones action sequences for this mishap. Just as unfitting for an archaeologist professor, it's also contrary to Sherlock Holmes' reason to use violence. But how else are we gonna have those compulsory big explosions? Lastly, the most important thing of all in a detective story, the case, rings closer to home to the original series, even though the explanations for the supposed supernatural elements at the end are themselves near impossible.

Obviously the creators of this film took great liberties with the poor Sherlock Holmes' character, for he fights like Indiana Jones, laughs like Mozart and thinks somewhat like Sherlock Holmes; I guess he is Sherlock's bad ass, genius double, though not as tall and lanky.
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Terrible Casting & Terrible Portrayal of Sherlock Holmes
Andrew21 October 2011
Warning: Spoilers
This movie was TERRIBLE! It wouldn't have been half as bad if they just didn't call it 'Sherlock Holmes' the way they portrayed him in this movie is NOTHING like the actual character of Sherlock Holmes. Holmes is not some buff, a-kicking, bad-a.. He is supposed to be a highly intelligent character and I didn't get that feeling from Downey Jr. AT ALL. I never pictured Sherlock Holmes to be a strong, tiny man & I think they just did completely horrible things with the characters. Story line and plot and all that was not bad at all definitely some good entertainment but NOT using Holmes & Watson as characters, that just completely ruined the movie because that is NOT what those characters are supposed to be like at all! Definitely going to avoid the new one coming out this year I was already disappointed enough in this one definitely know better than to waste my money this time. It makes me sick the way Hollywood takes normal proper characters and completely destroys them in films this was complete blasphemy I'll bet if the original creator of Sherlock Holmes was still alive today he would be very upset!
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pasholy200120 July 2010
Warning: Spoilers
I'm rating a 1/10 to counterbalance all the 9/10 reviews. This movie was just another stupid, boring action movie. I might of given it more stars if it wasn't named "Sherlock Holmes".

1. The characters in the movie were not Holmes and Watson. Maybe Dr. House and Jackie Chan. I read some reviews saying that this is the best portrayal of Holmes you've ever seen, seriously? Yes, he was eccentric, but he wasn't a smug, childish, karate champion, witty.... He was a proper British gentlemen. Why does he always have a stupid, baffled expression in the movie? You know the one with his eyes wide open.

2. I have to agree with another reviewer, Conan Doyle mostly had believable explanations. Not some remote control, flammable water, and lot's of other junk that they didn't have in the late 1800's.

3. I hate that everything nowadays has to be an action movie. Holmes and Watson were not crime fighting ninjas. I've read many Holmes books and I've yet to find one where he goes around kicking ass all over the place. Next we'll see a Jesus movie where there are lots of explosions.

This movie is good for the masses, but not if you are an actual thinking human being.
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Downey and Law are on the case
C-Younkin22 December 2009
Do Guy Ritchie and Sherlock Holmes fit? Why, it's elementary my dear movie fan. This is one of the most entertaining thrillers of the year and the fantastic Downey Jr. and Law are a big part of the reason why. They take top honors as the years best bro-mance, arguing like an old married couple while deep down knowing that they'd be lost without each other. Downey is Holmes and Law is sidekick Dr. Watson, embroiled in a plot where the black-magic-practicing Lord Blackwood (a perfectly grave and menacing Mark Strong) has risen from the dead after being sentenced to hang. Rachel McAdams also shows up as Irene Adler, the only criminal who has ever gotten the best of Holmes.

Downey Jr. brings quick-wit, cunning, and a scruffy toughness to a role long seen as stuffy and dry, while Law a distinguished charm that, at times, spills over into testy aggressiveness (which is funniest at Holmes most annoying). Both toss off the one-liners with ease. Ritchie's directorial style also comes through, from the dark, grimy Victorian- London production values to the violent boxing and martial arts matches. Holmes' mindset (such as the steps he takes to neutralize a suspect, interpret clues, follow the deceptive) also brings out Ritchie's ability to create an ultra-stylized flashback. There are also a few really thrilling action set-pieces involving a boat and an unfinished bridge. The plot, by three screenwriters, is a little on the convoluted side but it gets the job done with plot-twist on-top of plot twist. With all the brutal violence and style, you can be sure this isn't your Grandpa's Sherlock Holmes, but it will have you drooling for a sequel nonetheless.
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Actor, and Placement
RResende4 January 2010
Somehow, i've always avoided the cinematic (or TV) presentations of Sherlock Holmes. I find the character fascinating, but i always felt it was more invested in literature, not cinema. His deductions, the way he surrounds the worlds he investigates are a feast for thinking minds. Even when the deductions are over the top (which happens often!) one can't stop smiling at the cleverness. More than that, the character is a perfect piece invested in a clever, irresistible and fascinating world. London. That part is visual, and a good ground to invest a cinematic world. But, unlike for example anything by Agatha Christie, Doyle's cleverness is rooted in pure deductive logic, not on the mechanics of the world. Notice that Christie's crimes are many times a matter of understanding how things happened, spatially (murder on the orient express is the zenith of that). I suppose Doyle formed his mind before cinema had any significant impact on how our minds work.

So the challenge for any modern filmmaker, and actor, who wants to update Holmes, is to make the character more cinematic, more appealing. Several tricks are used here, most of them successful, even if straightforward. One is the most obvious, making Holmes an action character (which actually is in its original dna, even though TV productions usually ignore that). This might be a flop, and make the version laughable, but by now there is a sense of irony and self awareness in Ritchie's films (sincer Lock Stock) that allows him to support a xxi century action figure in Holmes clothing that actually is watchable. A minor trick here is the association of the deduction with the very process of physical fighting, which creates some Matrix moments. Well, their watchable, though not particularly interesting. In the greater arc, there are good action sequences, because, as any competent action these days, considers the elements of the surrounding space, and uses them.

But there are two big things in this film, which take it to new levels of interest.

One is the acting. Jude Law is a clever guy, an interesting actor whose greatest quality is how he merges anonymously with the context he is intended to integrate. He willingly becomes a piece of a larger tapestry, and that really is something to look upon. There are not many actors who can claim they can do this competently. But the king of the game is Downey Jr. He is the gold piece in the puzzle of updating Holmes. There certainly will be a before-after Holmes character, with this film. The man is capable to work his performances on several directions, and each of them is a perfect link to its surroundings. So he gives in to Ritchie's demands, and introduces humour, irony, and self-awareness in the character, to make it usable for the director's winks at ironic action. He invests totally on the creation of a character who merges with the textures of the context, while being distinct from it. And while doing it, he folds us into his game, so we do everything with him, side by side. We deduce, we smile, we run, all with him. So, if the film hadn't other qualities, Downey Jr would still make it worthy, because he, alone, solves one the most basic problems with any film: to find a channel audiences can safely cross into the game someone (director) proposes. He is one of the best ever.

But there is another great thing here, which i suspect has a lot to do with several guys involved in the process of making the film. The result is an incredible sense of placement. London, XIXth century. All those dirty muddy streets, all the dirt. The fascination of the inner locations, namely the midget's laboratory. How those sets are usable, in the action scenes. That's all competent, more than competent. It's perfectly rendered, carefully photographed, it sounds overly artificial, but it's a matter of taste, i suppose. But what was really striking was the use of the London bridge. Notice how it is announced, early in the film, with a similar perspective to the one we'll get in the end. Than, the great sequence, when Irene Adler goes through the sewage, goes up, and we end up with a close up of her, in an unidentified location. The angle opens, we move away, and we are set up in the location for the final fight scene, which in its own merits is interesting enough. So, this was a unique way to actually use an establishing location, instead of merely showing it. I mean, how many films have shown the Eiffel towers? countless. How many actually use it? not so many. This is one of the best London cities we've seen lately.

My opinion: 4/5
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Visually stylish, otherwise totally bland
paulj_2 March 2011
As with most of Hollywood "blockbuster" cinema these days, the film suffers from an inescapable, one-dimensionalism. It is all about style; the cinematography, costuming, digital sets and effects, etc. are all top notch. As well, the quippy dialogue betrays a certain shallow, slick stylism that the script suffers from in general. However, far from being a clever distillation of the best of Holmes and Watson, the film instead suffers throughout from a post-modernistic reductionism that flattens our heroes into effete, world-weary caricatures of their literary counterparts.

In a nutshell, for Holmes enthusiasts particularly, the film--in spite of the stylishly depicted action sequences--is dull and soulless, almost as if bored with its own pointlessness. Telling of our times, perhaps, but far from great storytelling.
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As the Crow Flies
David Ferguson27 December 2009
Greetings again from the darkness. Great literature seldom makes for great cinema. The mediums are vastly different. However great literature, in the right hands, can make for very entertaining cinema. Such is the case with Guy Ritchie's interpretation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's greatest character.

Mr. Ritchie provides us with quite a departure from the Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce "Holmes and Watson". Here we get dazzling special effects and near super-human feats and stunts. Another twist is that this Holmes here is no meticulous, fastidious bore in real life. In fact, he lives more like a frat boy or rock star - replete with trashed room and bouts of isolation.

What is not missing is Holmes' world class attention to detail. The story here is multi-layered and actually very interesting, if not a bit high-minded and high-concept. The still-under-construction Tower Bridge plays a role in the film and the bleakness and gray of London is captured perfectly.

Of course, I won't reveal any details of the story other than to say the "good" guys are out to get a real bad guy here ... wonderfully played by the always solid Mark Strong, who may or may not be dead. That always makes for an interesting case! Support from Rachel McAdams and Eddie Marsan are fine, but Robert Downey Jr and Jude Law are the real stars as Holmes and Watson. As odd as it seems, they really do have a buddy factor that works well on screen. Downey's physicality has always set him apart from many contemporary actors ... he moves like a dancer and fights like a champion. Jude Law is often too pretty-boy for me, but he really does a nice job of capturing the reluctant sidekick with complimentary skills.

This is a BIG movie! It is made to be a rollicking good time with tons of popcorn munched. Smaller kids will not be able to follow the story, but anyone who has read a Holmes story (and isn't against a little artistic license) should see the film. It is extremely entertaining and fun to watch.
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Sherlock Holmes for the remake generation
joestank1525 December 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Sherlock Holmes - Based on the books by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the popular detective is portrayed by Robert Downey Jr. His loyal companion Watson (played superbly by Jude Law) is getting married and Holmes is none too happy. Their antics are put on the shelf because Lord Blackwood (ice cold Mark Strong), a powerful man of the occult world, has committed a series of murders. When he is hung, he rises from the grave and promises to drastically change the world with himself as master. With the future of several countries at stake, it is up to Holmes to stop Blackwood. Downey Jr. disappears into the role like the character does with various disguises. He is completely believable as a detective whose deductive skills are so powerful that, without focus, mundane situations are overwhelming to his psyche. The film and role are his.

Holmes is portrayed as a borderline manic depressive eccentric who cannot function unless he has a goal to accomplish. In other words: Robert Downey Jr. The film has fun exploring the part of Holmes left untouched by the films done by varying Television productions for many years. Namely: the physical side of Holmes. Yes, Holmes is a boxer, stick/sword fighter, and a martial artist. It was in the books, and it is done in this film as well. He flung Moriarty down a chasm with jujitsu in one of the stories for God's sake! It always bothered me that Holmes's eccentricities and drug-use seemed to be shelved on the screen in favor of a more well-put together stern man who would never deign to get his hands dirty. Holmes was never meant to be a symbol of stiff-upper lip Britain, yet that's what he became. The obvious reasons behind these choices were probably finances (or lack thereof concerning fight co-ordination) and censorship. It's funny how interpretations work. Icons are taken down such a strange path that, when someone decides to bring them to where they started, the old looks new. Batman was always noir. Bond was a quipless suave killer. Holmes could fight.

A down and dirty Holmes is more interesting (surprise!) to a 21st century audience than an omniscient uppercrust man eternally in a bathrobe. This Holmes is fairly true to the original character. It may not be true to the Holmes some people have in their heads, but that version cherry picks elements of Doyle's original creation. Actually this Watson is not as close to the original version (younger with no limp), but this Watson ties Holmes to reality, is less of an audience fill-in (read: a dumb shmoe) and kicks some major ass.

The film is riveting with only a few parts that actually lag. Huge explanations are saved until the end. We realize we have seem more or less all that Holmes has seen, and yet he gleaned far far more with his powerful intellect. Guy Ritchie's directing is vast and yet detail oriented. It's fairly comprehensible yet there is enough in the dialogue and character relationships to warrant future viewings.

Sherlock Holmes is smart and entertaining, a combination which always works better than either adjective by itself. This is an invigorating re-boot that reminds us why the detective is such an icon. Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law have perfect chemistry like an old married couple. Mark Strong plays a chilling villain and one lament is that, as part of the film is spent trying to find him, his performance is surprisingly brief. Rachel McAdams is the one part of casting that feels disingenuous. She's not quite devilish or sensuous enough to be the one woman that outsmarted Sherlock Holmes. Still, a thoroughly entertaining film for the head and heart. I look forward to the inevitable sequel. A-
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19th century Ace Ventura with less energy
Although Sherlock Holmes is undeniably the best detective to be universally known, I should have known the updated film version would not have been as entertaining. I wanted it to be, the casting seemed to have picked the right actors, but instead the result was disheartening.

Robert Downey Jr. stars as the observant detective in a race to discover the plan of the evil Lord Blackwood (Mark Strong). No doubt does Downey Jr. give a convincing performance as Holmes but his execution is frustrating if not unconventional. Holmes' powers of deduction are quite impressive just like Ace Ventura, how he can ramble out various illustrations to how certain acts were performed but his means of communication are not what you would call crystal clear. Instead of hearing what Holmes had to say, I heard deep raspy monotone whispering with no change in pitch or annunciations. What did he say? Seriously.

The same goes for Downey's co-star Jude Law who plays Dr. John Watson. I did enjoy some of their exchanges but much of them were just based upon their facial expressions. Half the time I couldn't even tell what they were mumbling about. Another person that didn't really fit into place was Rachel McAdam's character of Irene Adler. The audience is told that she was once a love interest of Holmes. Okay, what happened? Why is she acting currently as a mole? What made her become the thing she is in this movie? No explanations were given.

The set designs were not that much of an eye-grabber either. I couldn't believe how colorless every scene looked. Grey, black, brown, some dark yellow, blue and red shades were the only things I caught a glimpse of. For the adventures Sherlock Holmes is known for, this adventure was not very colorful at all. And although this is an adventure film of some sort, I did not really appreciate for the action scenes. How could Sherlock Holmes, a man of the 1800s, receive martial arts training and no one else seem to know of it?

One of the few scenes I actually got a kick out of was when Holmes, Adler, and Watson were in the slaughterhouse. That was an intense moment but for the element of danger, not action. Lastly, the movie soundtrack is the most foreign I have ever heard of. Hans Zimmer, a well-known composer, I thought would have created music with little more panache but all I got instead was a bunch of weird guitar playing. Not cool Zimmer. Pretty lame if you ask me.

There's nothing wrong with the plot here, Robert Downey Jr. does have some good lines but it's hard to understand him half the time. It doesn't help that both the action and music are weird too.
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A very simple (and boring) plot...
Hesiod1 February 2010
Warning: Spoilers
Many people complains about the plot being confusing, but I found it very simple: Two ninjas, Sherlock and Watson (the former said to be very clever) have a fight each five minutes of the film. In-between fights they try to solve a very difficult case about a bad guy (Lord Blackwood) that, as Count Dracula, has the power to get into the minds of the people and make them cause riots and protests everywhere in Victorian London. Although the bad guy’s ambitions are merely political, he also murders women as a hobby and that’s why he is captured by the two ninjas, then prosecuted and finally hanged.

Many people go to see the execution, but nobody (not even the clever ninja) notes that the rope from which the bad guy hangs stays loose around his neck. The other ninja, said to be a physician, takes the pulse of the corpse directly on the neck, and realizes that the rope didn’t leave any mark whatsoever in the dead guy’s neck. Admired by how soft these new ropes are, he says nothing and declares him dead.

The bad guy wasn’t dead, but he was buried the same under big blocks of granite. This was a very hard task because these blocks were actually very small pieces glued together lightly so that the bad guy could break them from the inside of his grave and it must have required quite a lot of people to put these fragile blocks in place so delicately as not to unglue them. Fortunately for the bad guy no one working at the cemetery noticed this.

The film goes on very slowly after that. Anything they investigate is immediately followed by a long fight.

Very often Conan Doyle writes about cases that although they look supernatural at the beginning, a sound and rational explanation is provided at the end.

Guy Ritchie decides to change this tedious scheme, so that a crescendo is built till the last frame. To achieve this Guy Ritchie applies the rule that if a case looks supernatural, the explanation should be more supernatural than the case itself.

So, at the end, we are faced with magical substances (that couldn’t be found till now even in the Pandora moon) like a kind of clear, odorless liquid, that people take as water, which ignites readily and violently with just a spark, distilled cyanhydric acid that kills much better than the relatively pure counterpart so easy to obtain, an antidote thanks to which you can breathe hydrogen cyanide with no ill effects, small sized remote controls made in 1880, and many, many more. No ridicule is spared in explaining what has happened and how.

Such a display of fantasy for nothing; at the end the clever ninja cannot explain how the bad guy managed to get into the minds of the people and organize riots telepathically. Maybe there was also a magical gas that was released by the bad guy and caused this, but unfortunately this is not shown in the film.
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dumb and boring
toast-152 January 2010
Warning: Spoilers
I actually had high hopes for this movie. I went with a big crowd of people and while they planned to see Avatar I was going to see Sherlock Holmes. Unfortunately for them, Avatar was sold out so they all joined me in this train wreck of a movie. To be fair, there are about 10 minutes total that are kind of interesting. But the movie is 2 hours and 15 minutes long so there's the problem. There are so many plot holes that a mack truck could drive through and even with suspension of disbelief, it is truly a hodge podge of dreck with loud noises interspersed amongst the dreck to keep you awake. We are supposed to believe that Irene Adler is so strong as to heave a drugged and out-of-it Holmes from off the floor by the fireplace and onto a bed and then strip and handcuff him to the bed posts. They don't show you any of this because it would be laughably unbelievable. She must be super human to accomplish such a feat. There are other ridiculous stupidities that I thought perhaps were aimed at teens but the teens that were with me actually fell asleep because it was so boring. Every once in a while one of the sleeping teens would nod awake at a loud explosion. One such explosion completely engulfed the major characters yet in the next scene, not a burn mark is to be found. Apparently people in Holmes' day were made of asbestos. Don't waste your money. I like R.D.J. but this was a waste of time and money.
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'Sherlock Holmes' is a Fast-Paced Whirlwind Adventure
superflysamurai1323 December 2009
-----It came as a surprise when Guy Ritchie was chosen as the Director of 'Sherlock Holmes.' Known primarily for his work on indie crime films, such as 'Snatch' or last year's 'RocknRolla,' Ritchie had never taken on a mainstream franchise film, the likes of which 'Sherlock Holmes' promised to be. Thankfully, Ritchie was able to mesh the two genres on some level, with his trademark style of film-making ever present in his latest outing. The result is a film that will surely prove the most popular take on the character outside of Conan Doyle's original novels, and will also likely spawn a franchise.

-----Sherlock Holmes and his partner Dr. Watson have been successfully solving cases throughout England for years. Their most recent case was that of Lord Blackwood, a man who murdered in the name of his black magic. Finally hanged for his crimes, it comes as an unpleasant surprise when he literally rises from his grave. And so it is up to Holmes and Watson to find him and stop him before his killing spree devours the whole of England.

-----Robert Downey Jr. is right at home in the role of the infamous detective. Swapping out futuristic armor for a pipe and fiddle, he plays another character with the wit and confidence of his Tony Stark persona in 'Iron Man.' This makes sense because, to some degree, what is 'Sherlock Holmes' if not merely the Tony Stark character set back about a hundred years? Regardless, Downey Jr. is excellent, providing an effervescent wit and supreme charm to his latest role. Jude Law plays his right hand man, Dr. John Watson, in a role much smarter than past incarnations of the Watson character. The two are more equals than hero and sidekick, and their chemistry is indelible. Even when the narrative becomes a bit erratic, the pleasure of seeing the two stars' continuous verbal quarrels is worth the price of admission alone. Together they inspire numerous laughs and clever rebuttals to an unrelenting degree, allowing many of the jokes to pass unrealized, saved for the treat of a second viewing.

-----'Sherlock Holmes' has a method completely reminiscent of Director Guy Ritchie's earlier films. In the style of show first-explain later, Ritchie has effectively applied his trademark fast cuts to the mind of his lead protagonist. Much as Watson is often catching up to Holmes' various schemes, so must the audience sit in question for a large portion of the film, waiting for Holmes to reveal his motivations. Particularly similar to his work on last year's entertaining 'RocknRolla,' along with many of his other films, Ritchie takes the first hour of his endeavors laying out the dots to be connected in his lengthy but fast-paced crescendo throughout the second half of the film. With 'Holmes,' he has compromised nothing, rather managed to find a better balance between build up and climax. With various fistfight intervals dissecting the chaotic mystery, Ritchie keeps the audience entertained even when they're unsure about the direction of the plot. That being said, many viewers will begin to question their purchase throughout the films first half hour, as the story puzzles more than entertains. But rest assured, a satisfying finale follows, with so many pieces coming together that a second viewing is a necessity to begin dissecting the intricacies of the case being solved, if that only means better understanding Holmes' course of action.

-----Visually Ritchie has constructed a film in the shadows, only occasionally getting out into spanning shots of daylight England. This, like the rest of the film, settles into place as the film develops. His infamous lightning cuts allow no slow moments, even when the pace would typically meander in the hands of a lesser Director. Holmes also riddles off explanations so rapidly that audiences can hardly pick up on all of what he is saying, or all of the nuanced humor during the interplay between Watson and him. Unfortunately much of the laugh-out-loud humor as been divulged in the trailer, but a film should not be penalized for the faults of its advertising campaign. The musical score is supplemental to the frantic convolutions of the film's earlier scenes, providing a spirited tune that rides the energy of fiddling and poses as anything but generic. The locations are likewise smart, the costumes are admirable, and the effects are gritty, proving to be another benefit of having an indie Director helm an event film. Ultimately there are no blatant shortcuts in the way of computer generation, only clever sets and a brilliant Art Direction.

-----'Sherlock Holmes' is refreshingly less conventional than one might guess, even if some viewers may find themselves a bit lost by Ritchie's unforgiving cuts and unrelenting energy. It jumps right into the tale, no origins told and no flashbacks necessary, relying on Holmes renowned history. Furthermore, many subtle elements of the various characters' past interactions are left for the audience to deduce in the fashion of Sherlock Holmes himself. And while the film may not be the grand epic some may have hoped for, its sheer entertainment value is undeniable. From the moment the credits roll it's apparent that 'Sherlock Holmes' cannot be full appreciated in one screening, and will likely grow in favor upon further viewings. It further presents itself as a gem of home entertainment in the long run, as a film that can be enjoyed on any occasion in any company, even with its hefty two-hour-plus runtime. This is a byproduct of the wonderfully gritty action Ritchie brings to the tale, and the uncompromising portrayal of the classic characters by the films superb leads. 'Sherlock Holmes' won't be quite what you expect, and you may even be dismayed by the films feisty narrative style, but more often than not you'll be completely entertained by the characters on screen in this fun addition to the loaded Holiday season.
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Seems to be based on non-Sherlock Holmes material
ravenosa10 June 2010
Where to start? My main problem with the film was there being NO Sherlock Holmes or Watson characters, and NO mystery plot. Seemed more like some strange action/fantasy hybrid.

I have a feeling we'll find out where there going with this in the sequel. Perhaps Jude Law is actually playing Sherlock Holmes? I think Robert Downey may be covering for him, as Jude seemed to be the one more likely to be the Sherlock type.

Other than the lack of plot and characters, I had a major problem with the ridiculous action scenes. I guess I should have been ready for them from seeing the trailers/commercials but there's more ridiculous action than I could tolerate. Especially for a film labeled as a Sherlock Holmes film.

1/10. Can't recommend it for any reason.
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Oh dear!
Sjhm17 November 2010
Warning: Spoilers
This has to rate as one of the most infuriating, frustrating films I think I have ever seen.

The good bits: Robert Downey Jr turns in a very credible and intelligent performance as Holmes.

The bad bits: It was a great pity that his performance is all at sea in a script that is a complete mess, and his back up is Jude Law -- the second most annoying and irritating Dr Watson I have ever come across.

The bad guy -- now there is an infuriatingly over the top villain. The constant fights, the heavy-handed suspend-disbelief stunts. The film never "settles" long enough for me to get into it. It leaps wildly from highlight to highlight without even a corresponding lowlight to slow things down a bit. It's just too much.
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Tremendous!!! One of my favorite movies of the year.
Potty-Man25 December 2009
What a ride. "Sherlock Holmes" left me giddy. I absolutely loved it. It was thrilling, funny, stylish, fast-paced and brilliantly acted.

Downey Jr. is a delight to look at. He eats up the screen. He gives the character all sorts of mannerisms and nuances which really bring Holmes to life like never before. The chemistry and interplay between him and Jude Law is hilarious.

I wasn't a big fan of Rachel McAdams's performance, but it didn't detract from the experience. I felt she just didn't bring as much to the table as the others. (Kinda like Katie Holmes in Batman Begins.)

Guy Ritchie really outdoes himself here. The way he uses the camera, the motion, the fluidity, the snappy pacing - I loved every minute of it.

A really fantastic movie. Well done.
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Dull, over-bearing update of classic literary series
davideo-214 September 2010
STAR RATING: ***** Saturday Night **** Friday Night *** Friday Morning ** Sunday Night * Monday Morning

Sherlock Holmes (Robert Downey Jr.) finally catches the elusive Lord Blackwood (Mark Strong), who's been responsible for a series of murders and occult black magic use in 19th century England, and sees him, or apparently sees him executed. But when it appears the super-villain has mysteriously risen from the grave, Holmes and his nagging but ever loyal sidekick Dr. Watson (Jude Law) must use all their detective know how and skill to solve the mystery while dodging obstruction from every corner of London society.

A big screen adaptation for 21st century audiences of Arthur Conon Doyle's legendary literary detective was an unusual change of direction for southern hot shot Guy Ritchie to take on, but he's gone at it with his usual gusto, leaving no stone unturned and striving for the most professional job he can get. Unfortunately, his SH is a bewildering mess, a long, heavy, humourless affair that is curiously short on entertainment value.

Much of the dialogue is probably true to the style Doyle originally used in his novels, but it is nonetheless baffling and over-whelming even to someone like me who isn't much of a lover for slang. It manages to be a lot of style with no real substance, and for a 'blockbuster' doesn't give you a lot to be on the edge of your seat about. Performances wise, Downey Jr. tries to get under the skin of the lead character, but doesn't stand out and does a questionable cockney accent, while Law is as bland and unremarkable as ever as the sidekick. Even support like Eddie Marsan and Kelly Reilly can't do anything. Strong is good as the villain, practically playing the role in his sleep, and things do perk up a bit at the end. Overall, though, Ritchie should stick to gangster films. **
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Entertaining, Sophisticated, Gritty - A New Breed of Sherlock Holmes
OnFireJC25 December 2009
Opening on Christmas Day, Sherlock Holmes showed itself to be worthy as a blockbuster hit. To be frank, I came with an expectation that the movie would be terrible. But I was proved wrong.

Sherlock Holmes seems to be like the new James Bond: gritty, hardcore, and always ready for a good fight. He is not only intellectually sophisticated but also quite a brawler. Watson his side kick who is his loyal friend is always there to save his dear partner from harm's way. Irene plays the notorious thief and lover of Mr. Holmes. She is a wily character who keeps the reader guessing her motives.

The cinematography of the movie was special because it showed parts of the film as Holmes' future logical deductions. The movie also used the tradition method of explaining the Sherlock Holmes deductions after given the facts and clues.

Sherlock Holmes' evil nemesis play his part well. There were many humorous antics and displays of ingenious traps. The other minor characters also added to the crude humor and laughter.

Overall, this movie deserves to be watched. It comes with sparkles of spontaneity and fun. And it may even leave you wanting a sequel! Give it a try!
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Entertaining Adventure
Claudio Carvalho8 May 2010
Warning: Spoilers
In London, Sherlock Holmes (Robert Downey Jr.) and his partner Dr. John Watson (Jude Law) captures the follower of black magic and serial killer Lord Blackwood (Mark Strong) that has already killed five women when he is near to kill his sixth victim. Blackwood is sentenced to be strung up and Dr. Watson attests his death. However, Blackwood mysteriously returns from the afterlife and Inspector Lestrade (Eddie Marsan) summons Sherlock Holmes to help the Scotland Yard in the investigation. Meanwhile Dr. Watson intends to get married of the gorgeous Mary Morstan (Kelly Reilly) while Sherlock is visited by his former lover Irene Adler (Rachel McAdams) that has a secret agenda.

This unconventional Sherlock Holmes story is an entertaining adventure by Guy Ritchie. The hero is very different from the traditional and austere Sherlock Holmes created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Therefore, the story could be from two detectives ahead of time living in London in the end of the Nineteenth Century instead. The purist fans of Sherlock Holmes will certainly hate the heresy of Guy Ritchie. For those that just expect a funny entertainment, this film is pleasant. My vote is seven.

Title (Brazil): "Sherlock Holmes"
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Guy Ritchie takes great ingredients and bakes a turd pie.
Custador26 December 2009
Warning: Spoilers
At face value, Sherlock Holmes should have been the must-see of 2010 - great cast in the shape of Jude Law and the currently unstoppable Robert Downey Jr, massive budget, big name director and a classic story.

In reality it fails, and fails badly.

My better half extended a theory which I think holds merit here: it feels as though somebody has written a really good story to prequel the Sherlock Holmes stories by Arthur Conan Doyle and presented it to a studio - who have promptly handed it to a hack screen-writer and a lacklustre director to make a shambles of.

The action scenes lack any feeling of authenticity or excitement, and that's pretty inexcusable in an action driven film with a cast of good actors. Had the film had a different director, I can't help feeling that it would have made an excellent, suspenseful story-driven feature. As it is, the action feels pasted-on and ruins the story.

*(slight) SPOILER ALERT* Holmes' trademark summing up and explanation at the end is perhaps the one enjoyable scene in the film, but is ruined by the constant foreshadowing of sequels to come. The whole film, in fact, feels like it's setting up its own sequel rather than trying to be a film in its own right - it just doesn't work! *ANOTHER (very slight) SPOILER ALERT* Mark Strong is the villain of the piece as Lord Blackwood - but the character is a hugely inferior copy of his role as Septimus in Stardust, right down to the thigh-length black leather jacket.

*ANOTHER (much bigger) SPOILER ALERT* Take a Dan Brown novel. Take all of the nonsensical plots about Illuminati and mystic orders. Superimpose it on top of an Arthur Conan Doyle novel. Voila - you've just made this film.

I spent the whole of this film waiting for it to become good. The cast were good, the original characters were good, the budget was good - the film, however, is atrocious.
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Sherlock Who?
wespain26 February 2011
I avoided this film in theaters. The trailers indicated I wouldn't see a Sherlock Holmes I'd know or like. And the DVD justified my fears. I didn't want to sit through "Sherlock Holmes---Superhero!" I wanted a plot that had at least some plausibility. It's hard to believe this was directed by an Englishman. It doesn't feel true to its period, or English society in general. I wanted a version of Victorian-Edwardian England I'd at least recognize. This concoction plays like Michael Bey mugging Arthur Conan Doyle. I will give Robert Downey Jr credit. He does bring some genuine panache to ole Sherlock. In fact, his performance makes it all bearable. The rest of a pretty good cast is wasted in a hyped-up video game version of Sherlock Holmes.
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Bad movie, most of all not for Sherlock Holmes fans
vittorix2 February 2010
Warning: Spoilers
This movie was extremely boring (my friend slept through most of it) and irritating.

I've been a real Sherlock Holmes stories fan for many years (first place visited in London? 221B Baker Street - I've read all of the stories 6 times).

I was very disappointed by the shame that movie makes of itself by transforming the noblest of men (Watson and Holmes) into two idiots punching each other (!!!). Mary Morstan that throws a cocktail in Sherlock's face? ARE WE CRAZY?! The noblest men into two idiots and the best friendship into a ridiculous series of insults.


If you are not a Holmes fan it's just still a mediocre modern movie full of action and with an horrible story.
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Indiana Holmes and the Masonic House of Lords
ShippedCutOut12 April 2010
Rarely have I hated a film as much as I did this rendition of Sherlock Holmes. Blame the script, and to some extent, the director for willingly filming this mess. They have completely misinterpreted one of the greatest characters ever, presenting Holmes as an Action Figure. What is it about Hollywood that thinks we want to see vast conspiracy cults, intent upon taking over the city, the world, the universe? Why do they continue to turn already entertaining stories into total mishmashes of roller coaster, smash-boom-bah adventures? Whether "Dragnet," or "Temple of Doom," or "National Treasure," it seems that the Suits in Hollywood want every film to imitate the original Indiana Jones with a measure of Da Vinci Code on the side.

Granted, I have been a major Holmes fan ever since seeing the Basil Rathbone version of "Hound of the Baskervilles" long ago and then reading "Red Headed League" in grade school. Since then, I've read the entire collection and enjoyed more Rathbone and the wonderful Jeremy Brett interpretations on PBS, as well as some other more forgettable "consulting detectives." What they all have in common-- what makes Holmes such a memorable character-- is their reliance of the cerebral to solve the crime; not the physical.

Ritchie gives us a few inklings into Holmes deductive reasoning, to show us that the little details can contribute to an overall portrait of who, what, when, etc. But he also more frequently has Holmes punching villains, brawling in the betting ring, dodging a massive ship's hull as it lumbers towards him in dry dock, leaping head first out an upper window of the House of Parliament into the Thames, and concluding with a literal cliff hanger atop the then under construction London Bridge. By coincidence, today my cable was also showing a recent James Bond film, and that film offered fewer explosions and violent encounters per minute than SH.

I love Robert Downey and Rachel McAdams is a fetching actress-- but both are wasted in this film. I am reminded of a comment made long ago about the filming of "Gone With the Wind" which more or less said, "The audience will forgive you for what you leave out, but they will have a hard time with what you put in." I'm sorry, but everything that was put into this mess was a travesty to everything that Sherlock Holmes has been for all these years. What were they thinking?

Cerebral Holmes=good; Action Holmes=BMW ad. Ugh.
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Refreshing to a fresh eye...
Ka'eo Costa22 December 2009
As you can tell from the first review, you probably have to be a big reader or fanboy/girl of Sherlock Holmes in order to be displeased. I was pleased almost the whole way through this movie without caring much about character. Still, even though Sherlock Holmes sometimes was a bit too 'ambiguously gay' and had an annoying modern-like personality, he continued to be funny, strange, and as intelligent as I thought Sherlock should be. Jude Law did a good job as well as others on the cast.

I loved the plot. It was obvious to me at times how the story would unravel, but then it hits you again in the end. It was a subtle hit, however. Anyways, my favorite part of the story was mainly the broad scheme of things and the people involved. Sherlock goes deep enough into the world of conspiracy to keep me interested.

My only gripe with this movie is sometimes the humor. A lot of the 'humor' came out during conversations. People would laugh at the wittiness spewed by the main characters, and it just felt too much like a modern sitcom. Today, American society and culture is infected with internet memes, battles of quick wit, and straight-faced jokes that provoke a lame laughter from me (one not deeply felt.) You could compare what I am saying to the dialogue in 'The Big Bang Theory.' Hollywood could maybe tone down a bit on dry and clever jokes, especially when they poke out during unnecessary times.

In conclusion, I enjoyed this movie enough to rate it an 8 out of 10, and although I did complain more than I gave praise, I just didn't want to give away all of the good parts. Go see this movie. It's fresh, isn't based in America, and doesn't trail off there either. There are twists, excellent action scenes, lots of fun moments, sweet investigation, and some analogous material better discussed in a forum of theorists.
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