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9/10
Hugely enjoyable, I seriously wasn't expecting to enjoy it as much as I did
TheLittleSongbird23 May 2010
First of all, I wasn't sure whether I wanted to see this movie initially. It looked entertaining enough, but I was wondering is it going to be an entertaining and stylish movie or another generic block buster? My answer is this, and you can probably tell by my summary, I thoroughly enjoyed it, it is not the best movie I have ever seen and it has its faults, but the thing is I thought it was fun, witty and somewhat original too.

Those who didn't like it as much as I did will probably question whether I have any knowledge at all of Sherlock Holmes, whether it is the books or the countless interpretations of the character and his stories. The answer is yes, I really like Conan Doyle's stories, they are clever and insightful and Holmes himself is a very intriguing character with a distinct personality, and I am a fan of both Basil Rathbone and Jeremy Brett. If I had a preference I would say the latter but only marginally, Rathbone was excellent, he was sophisticated and gritty but Brett had that towering presence and generosity about him that made me like him a little more.

Back to this film, I liked how it was filmed. I for one found it stylish, innovative and clever. The camera work is really good, even in the fight scenes which were suitably gritty and invigorating, and the sets, costumes and locations look as though they took their time with it and to make it true to the period. I also enjoyed the score, it was jaunty and somewhat tongue-in-cheek. Guy Ritchie's direction is solid as well, it is tight, assured and Ritchie does seem to know what he is doing, so we were treated to some fun set pieces.

The pacing was fine for me, in fact although people may disagree I for one was surprised at how quickly in general the film went, even if it did slow down towards the end. The script was very witty and smart, there were a number of times when my whole family and I laughed, and a lot of it was Holmes's dialogue, plus I liked the idea of the plot, it was an original (if a little convoluted at times) and it moved along briskly. I will talk later about what didn't quite work, but in particular the final solution is interesting. It may be one you need to rewind a few times in order to completely understand though. I also think it was a good idea to put Moriaty as a background character, the ending is highly suggestive of a sequel, and if there is one that would be a perfect opportunity for Moriaty to flourish with the right actor, some good dialogue and some good character development.

Finally the acting. In general, I was really impressed. Robert Downey Jnr, an actor who I like a lot, gives a very strong performance as Holmes. He plays Holmes as an avid boxer, as a keen martial artist, as intelligent being a master of logic and deduction and as a master of disguise, while tormenting his housekeeper in a playful manner and sometimes acting as selfish and self-destructive. Downey Jnr. delivers his lines pretty much brilliantly, sometimes saying them quite quickly, especially when Holmes is deducting but I loved his deadpan delivery. Jude Law is perfect as Watson, he plays him as young, intelligent, authoritative and there are some great moments when he tells Holmes off. The two do share a unique and effortless chemistry together and that really showed on screen and one of the reasons why the film was so enjoyable for me. Another strong performance is Mark Strong as Blackwood, a real villain he is, mysterious, cold, dark, suave yet charismatic yet deserving of one or two more scenes, and I liked Eddie Marsan's Inspector Lestrade.

Despite all these strengths there were two primary weaknesses. While the plot was great and moved along briskly, there were some scenes that came across as rushed and unexplained, especially when Holmes and Watson save Irene Adler from being killed in the factory, that just felt like an action set piece and little else. Rachel McAdams I didn't like so much as Irene. She looks really pretty, with the lovely authentic hair style and her dresses were eye popping, especially the pinkish-red one which suited her perfectly, but acting-wise she looks stiff and unconvincing in her part.

Overall, just plain fun. Whether you see it or not is up to you, if you don't like it that's fine, this film's not for everyone. But I am going to conclude to say I loved it, it was entertaining and smart. 9/10 Bethany Cox
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9/10
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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7/10
As the Crow Flies
ferguson-627 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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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

http://www.7eyes.wordpress.com
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8/10
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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9/10
A Fun Ride, Even For An Old Rathbone-Bruce Fan Like Me
ccthemovieman-124 February 2011
I stayed away from this for a long time because I'm an old codger who loves the old Basil Rathbone-Nigel Bruce Sherlock Holmes movies and from the trailer, I thought this was going to be another far-out Robert Downey Jr. flick that would be more science fiction/FX movie than a good Holmes mystery. Well, it was....BUT the movie was still very entertaining and I really liked it......and I'd certainly watch it again.

Yeah, it was a little weird seeing Holmes and Watson duking it out numerous times like they were members of The Expendables, but once that was accepted, I could settle back and enjoy the action, the dialog, the special effects, the fascinating characters and sharp picture and visuals, making it all surprisingly-fun ride. All the major characters in here were very entertaining, and all the while, Holmes still retained his incredible powers of deduction, which were a hoot to hear.

So, for older people who expect a very sedate Holmes and Watson, either skip the film or loosen up and just be ready for two hours of wild entertainment.
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7/10
Lavish production packed with action , intrigue , suspense and amusement
ma-cortes5 February 2010
It's a good film inspired on splendid novels about Sherlock Holmes character written by Arthur Conan Doyle , including two first-range nasties with malignant aims as Mark Strong as Blackwood and Doctor Moriarty , furthermore one woman , Rachel McAdams , as a suspicious young with mysterious purports .

In the flick appears the usual of the Arthur Conan Doyle's novels : Dr.Moriarty , Mistress Hudson (Geraldine James), Inspector Lestrade (Eddie Marsan) and of course Doctor Watson (Jude Law) , the perfect counterpart to Holmes . Holmes along Watson will solve unanswered mysteries and Sherlock undergoes some risked experiences to resolve the cases using even his habitual disguise . It's a nice Holmes film with gripping London and sensational setting . A genuine ripping yarn very intriguing . The movie blends suspense , thriller , detective action , cloak and dagger , mystery and is pretty interesting . It packs an exciting amount of surprises with great lots of entertainment . This is a classy and effective romp with a strongly casting . Robert Downey Jr.'s interpretation is magnificent , he's a Sherlock for modern times , of course very different to Basil Rathbone considered the best Holmes in the cinema , likeness to Peter Cushing and Jeremy Brett in television. Robert Downey as Holmes plays in a clever , broody and impetuous manner , as whimsical detective is top notch , he's in cracking form acting as a two-fisted fighter . He makes an unique perspective on his life revealing a complex personality . He's finely matched in battle of wits with Blackwood-Mark Strong . The stars have a splendid fight towards the end on the Tower of London , plus Holmes tries to battle against his arch-enemy Moriarty but with an amazing final surprise . Although Basil Rathbone will be forever identified as Holmes , however Sherlock is also played by Robert Downey as an intelligent , cunning , broody and impetuous pipesmoking sleuth but addicted to the cocaine . Dr. Watson here isn't a bumbling and botcher pal generally represented by Nigel Bruce but an clever and astute partner perfectly incarnated by Jude Law . The film has a creepy atmosphere , it's in glimmer color with lights and shades that originate strange setting . Set design is of first rate , the movie is very atmospheric , the dark , shady and dirty slums of London are very well designed but with excessive use of computer generator images. Screenwriter Michael Johnson provides the original plot , creating the basis for this particularly storyline . The film boasts a beautifully cinematography by Philippe Rousselot and a haunting score by Hans Zimmer in John Barry style . This big budgeted production by Joel Silver sparkles with polish and wit and the ending is as exciting as moving and being well directed by Guy Ritchie .
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7/10
Downey Jr. helps "Holmes" entertain in a livelier, more modern way
Movie_Muse_Reviews25 December 2009
The grandfather of the mystery genre -- and film's most adapted character -- is none other than the great detective Sherlock Holmes, so if one were to apply Holmes' own deductive reasoning skills, a modern reinvention was a matter of time. English Director Guy Ritchie ("Snatch," "RocknRolla") applies his witty and gritty crime thriller style to the first mainstream 21st Century version of Holmes, one that will likely appeal to a younger crowd and those less familiar with previous incarnations of the iconic sleuth.

The reason is the new "Holmes" is much less concerned with the quality of the mystery and more focused on breathing a new quirkiness and style into the character and his top-notch detective work. The script hopes you'll be hooked on the reveal of how Holmes figures everything out and not so much the crime/mystery itself. In other words our new "Holmes" is about creating an entertaining diversion in the form of clever logic, high-brow humor and old-school science -- it uses mystery conventions but to a showier end. Wisely, Warner Bros. has trusted the responsibility of delivering this amusement to one of the best and hottest comedians out there in Robert Downey Jr.

Downey Jr. continues to impress in his turn as Holmes, managing to employ his same wit and charms while creating a unique character that makes you feel as if you're watching Holmes, not RDJ with yet another accent. This Holmes is not merely a wise detective of old, but the quirky type, suggesting some insanity behind the genius. RDJ makes him much more colorful and entertaining and takes attention away from an okay storyline.

The mystery surrounds Lord Blackwood (Mark Strong), who appears to have supernatural abilities derived from an ancient magic. He creates terror in London appearing to have risen from the grave and committed a couple murders. Holmes and his dear friend Dr. Watson (Jude Law) are on the verge of ending their partnership because Watson has plans to settle down and marry when the crafty Irene Adler (Rachel McAdams) gets them deep into the Blackwood case.

The supernatural angle didn't work well for the latest Indiana Jones film and it doesn't exactly do well here. "Sherlock Holmes" Ver. 2009 is a little more Dan Brown "Angels & Demons" and a little less "Se7en." This is fine for those who can look to Holmes for a more mainstream romp than what an older crowd might hope to be a rigorous exercise in fine mystery and logic. Again, the fewer the expectations, the better.

As for the lean and mean Guy Ritchie depiction of Holmes, it's not entirely unfounded. The script creatively draws the connection between Holmes' intellectual prowess and how he might use it in a physical bout. It adds another dimension and ups the entertainment factor of the character. It might feel like it's giving a character steroids to put on more of a show, but the appeal would be too narrow if Holmes were straight-laced. Credit, however, has to go to Downey Jr. for making this vision work. His banter with Watson and ability to use classic Holmes logic to a comic effect is infinitely enjoyable.

It does take a bit of settling in to understand exactly what direction this new Holmes is going in, but it works thanks to RDJ and picks up as the mystery thickens and Holmes' limits are tested. McAdams' character lacks enough strength to stay memorable and as much as I like Strong, his character lacks dimension too. But the rebirth of Holmes will be a nice Holiday escape for the modern audience and those willing to keep an open mind. It's not your grandfather's "Sherlock Holmes" but can you think of any reason why it should be?

~Steven C

Visit my site at moviemusereviews.com
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4/10
Sherlock gets re-imaged for the MTV generation.
hitchcockthelegend16 May 2010
You know, come the finale of Guy Ritchie's "update" of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's much loved super sleuth I was not only bored to almost impending sleep, but also struck with one overriding question; why not just make a Victorian piece about a couple of swanky buddy sleuths and leave out the name Sherlock Holmes? The answer of course is obvious, to me at least, it's a name that sells. Mr Ritchie would most likely tell us that he wanted to bring the great detective to the attention of a whole new generation, whilst simultaneously making it appealing to the "youth" of today. Not elementary my dear Mr Ritchie, it's a cash in if you please. A cash in further aided by the casting of the talented and in vogue Robert Downey Jr as Holmes. Whilst casting Jude Law as Watson {so effectively a secondary role that suits Law perfectly} also carries some aesthetic weight for a younger audience.

The film does pretty much what one expects of a family blockbuster, in short, simple frothy fun that's sadly devoid of any mystery or intelligence befitting the once Deerstalker attired one. There's action and explosions, even good old fist fights given the Ritchie slow-mo make over, but these are either preceded or followed by long bouts of tedium. Not helped by an unadventurous & dull plot involving Mark Strong's {value for money performance} black magic shenanigans as Lord Blackwood, and the pointless inclusion of the anonymous Rachel McAdams as Holmes' ex love interest Irene Adler. All of which comes together for a rather uninspiring show down on a half built Tower Bridge. The set design is smart and on the money (Sarah Greenwood), as are the costumes (Jenny Beavan), but the same can't be said for the sound mix, which is quite frankly skewy and renders some of Downey Jr's brainy ramblings inaudible. Same for the score, Hans Zimmer goes for bombastic, which would have worked if it wasn't in conjunction with diddly day-diddly doo Celtic music. I mean this is Victorian England right? You could have set the film somewhere Celtic Mr Ritchie-since you have changed most of the essence of the character anyway. Hmm.

The sequel is inevitable given that the film has made monster amounts of cash, and no doubt about it, Law & Downey Jr have great chemistry. But this is comic book Sherlock, an attempt at an action comedy mixing brains with brawn. The end result being almost a cure for insomnia. 4/10
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8/10
Guy Ritchie & Robert Downey Jr. reimagines Sherlock Holmes
SnoopyStyle23 February 2014
Robert Downey Jr. is the legendary Sherlock Holmes. He plays the character as a superior-minded, physical, arrogant for good reasons, and manic. Dr. John Watson (Jude Law) is his loyal assistant who tries to deal with Holmes' eccentricities. They catch serial killer occultist Lord Blackwood (Mark Strong) and put him away in prison. The mysterious grifter Irene Adler (Rachel McAdams) is Holmes' equal, and comes to him with a murky proposition. When Blackwood seemingly returns from the dead after his hanging, Holmes must pick up the chase once again.

This is a more action oriented Sherlock Holmes in director Guy Ritchie's hands. He is not the cool calculating academic sleuth that is traditional in the character. The three leads have great chemistry together. RDJ creates an unique Holmes. Ritchie has piled on a densely written story of quirky mannerism, and outrageous action. It can be confusing at times like most other Ritchie movie. But confusions aside, this is a fun manic movie.
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7/10
Sherlock Holmes retold......or a reliable adaptation.
Sleepin_Dragon22 August 2021
How many of us that adore the world of Sherlock Holmes, don't romanticise about the stunning Jeremy Brett series, or the modern dizzying cleverness of the Benedict Cumberbatch series.

This film would have come as a massive surprise to both sets of fans. First off the visuals, it's a breathtaking affair, it's atmospheric and gothic, the blockbuster feel works incredibly well. Secondly, the humour, it's packed full of laughs, lots of witty lines and plenty of sarcasm. Thirdly, the acting, is tremendous, Downey and Law are sublime, it's a great cast.

Overall, it's taken me some time to get used to it, initially I loathed it, as time has developed I've grown to enjoy it, and now cannot wait for the third film.

The core essence of Holmes is actually captured here, plenty of what's in the books is brought to life, the darkness of the character, we're not given a member of the social elite, but a troubled, charismatic, fantastic slob.

My only real issue is the plot itself, which is perhaps the most over the top element here, and that's saying something, enjoyable, but a little hard to follow.

Crazy, complicated and fun, not my idea of Holmes, but a fun watch nonetheless. 7/10.
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10/10
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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10/10
"Death is only the beginning."
gigan-9223 January 2012
A+

If there is one genre I began to detest over the years, it was the 'buddy-action' flicks. You know the movies where two guys who aren't exactly friends are forced to form an uneasy alliance which leads to hilarious escapades. It's only been done a thousand and one times, note the long line of duos: Bruce Willis & Samuel L. Jackson ("Die Hard 3"), Will Smith & ("Wild Wild West"), Chris Tucker & Jackie Chan ("Rush Hour"), and let's not forget Jackie Chan and Owen Wilson ("Shanghai Knights"). Though many (but certainly not all) of the aforementioned films are indeed funny, few have any real lasting qualities and even fewer a challenging storyline. The best they can often do is throw an alluring female co-star between the two leads, but I digress.

This film however, stands a monumental achievement. Firstly, the cast is really something else. Robert Downey Jr. as our titular character, and he does a bang up job playing a man who's a mystery in himself. Jude Law is entertaining and I'm glad Eddie Marsan was aboard. Mark Strong makes for a very impressive antagonist, and Rachel McAdams is a seductive femme fatale of sorts. The gloomy setting, 1800s London, couldn't be better realized and it definitely gives the film a darker tone.

Most importantly though, the story is truly a one-of-a-kind detective tale. It really is a pitting of rationality vs. superstition, and to my heart-thumping exhilaration for the majority of the film you would think good old logic had been defeated. Moving on before I spoil anything. The plot twists and turns menacingly, and leaves one astounded by the effort put into the writing.

Lastly, kudos to composer Hans Zimmer who did a very catchy leitmotif that fit the film perfectly. The gray-blue cinematography is great, and I've got to congratulate Guy Ritchie on his feat.
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1/10
Guy Ritchie will only be remembered
JoeB13128 April 2010
for being Madonna's 59th boyfriend.

Judging by this cinematic piece of filth, he certainly won't be remembered for anything else.

Hey, what a neat idea. Let's take these iconic characters who've been around for a century and totally screw with them. Let's make Holmes a dysfunctional slob, and Watson a gambling jerk, and give them some kind of frustrated bro-mance, with no chemistry.

Yeah, we'll use Jude Law and Robert Downey Jr., but it will still stink.

Okay, the CGI looked good, and they did some great set direction, but deep down, you don't care. These aren't the Holmes and Watson Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote about. They are at best clichés...
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1/10
Searching for Sherlock
dusan-227 February 2010
I grew up reading Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's novels and I could still read them. This is because his novels can wake up imagination of the child and yet they have style and class to involve any adult into the story. I can say that this is the case with most of the Sherlock Holmes movies I had seen before I saw this one as they engage you by using the intelligent plot, first of all. 2009 Sherlock Holmes is a ridiculous attempt to turn a legendary detective into a Mission Impossible character and Dr. Watson into James Bond, Sean Connery style. Fast actions with special effects and very poor plot development are typical failures of this sterile Hollywood style project which has nothing to do with Sherlock. As I already mentioned partly, character of Dr Watson overpowers must dominating figure of Sherlock Holmes, which is sooo amateurish. Sherlock Holmes casting is a total failure, this guy matches Sherlock Holmes character as much as Sylvester Stallone. All in all, this is the bad time for Sherlock Holmes lovers.
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8/10
Sherlock Holmes...More Brawn Than Brain
LeonLouisRicci20 December 2013
That Oxymoron can't be helped. With the popularity and Box-Office ringing that Comic-Book Movies (yes, Sherlock Holmes is a "Super-Hero", think Batman) it always brings up that tired but necessary Debate about the Reboot.

It is a decision that has to be made behind the Scenes at the Script and Conference level. The approach. It can be an intellectual decision having to do with a "fresh", new, look, or a re-energizing. But most often it is purely Commercial. The Number Crunchers are as important as the Writer and Director. Will it sell, and how well?

There's nothing wrong with a Profit. It makes everyone happy and finances Sequels and such. So the Purists be damned, shut up, see this thing made Godzillians. Of course they have to include enough elements of the Original Character to be at least recognizable.

After all, you can't garner interest in a Movie called Sherlock Holmes and have the "Worlds most famous consulting Detective" and have it take place on Zeta Reticuli. Although that could very well happen with Today's Self-Importance, so obvious in Filmmakers like Guy Ritchie and M. Knight Shyamalan, and Clint Eastwood, among others.

So here it is and we're stuck with it. It's not Bad, just disappointingly Average and if you take on an Icon like Sherlock Holmes, Batman or Superman, Average is just not going to cut it.
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6/10
Guy Ritchie does his best to screw it up
zetes27 June 2010
The first film of Guy Ritchie's that I've seen since his staggeringly awful debut, Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (aka No Way! Shut Up! I've Never Even Seen Reservoir Dogs!). I was right to avoid him. Sherlock Holmes is almost a good movie. In any case, Robert Downey Jr. is an inspired choice for the role, and he really does his best to make the film work. I don't at all object to the idea of making Sherlock Holmes an action hero. The screenwriters make it make at least some sense. But, boy, does Ritchie go out of his way to screw everything up. The guy can't direct an action sequence to save his life. At one moment, he's overexplaining everything via slow-mo flashbacks (we could figure out Rachel McAdams drugged the wine, we don't need to see it), and another moment he's confusing us with slapdash editing. The film is just a mess. In the hands of a better director, this franchise could have been worth watching, but in Ritchie's hands, I'll avoid any subsequent films.
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6/10
This movie's entertainment level is elementary.
OllieSuave-00716 April 2014
Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law play London detectives Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson, who captures the black magic follower Lord Blackwood (Mark Strong), but has somehow mysteriously returned to life after his hanging. Holmes is called on the case again as Blackwood is seeking exact revenge on him and the rest of London. Sherlock is also visited by former lover Irene Adler (Rachel McAdams), who has a secret agenda of her own.

This movie has some intense and thrilling action scenes, particular those involving Sherlock and Blackwood. However, the overall pace of the plot is slow and tends to drag the story and the supposed humor did not deliver. The acting was OK for the most part, but the chemistry between the character leads suffers a little, which didn't provide much development and charm. The music score, though, was pretty catchy, and the sceneries of Old England are very nice.

Overall, it's an average movie.

Grade C
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4/10
Dull, over-bearing update of classic literary series
wellthatswhatithinkanyway14 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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8/10
Brutal Sherlock Holmes
educallejero18 February 2020
Excellent movie, filled with action but also enough slow moments for the story to unfold, with a mystery worthy of Sherlock Holmes and a good production design destined to evoke the Victorian Age that suits the character so well. Downey at his best, shows off a brutal version of the character, with all the great, good and bad. Maybe for some it would look too much like "action figure", to extremely capable in combat. But I don't feel that way.

Jude Law is very good in the "sidekick role", although not that sure as "Watson" (war veteran doctor). Still, he's good.

Visually great, with some especially great action sequences, maybe the Irene Adler character (played by the always perfect Rachel McAdams) could've been better. The villains, fine.

Maybe the worst thing about this movie is that the action, while always entertaining or better, sometimes can feel a bit like cartoony. Also, some parts in the second act can get slightly boring, but all of them are important in the conclusion, so it's not like they don't matter.
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8/10
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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8/10
A Nutshell Review: Sherlock Holmes
DICK STEEL26 December 2009
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle had arguably created the literary world's greatest detective operating from that famed 221B Baker Street address in London, and has been the subject of countless film interpretations, but none quite like what Guy Ritchie had crafted in making Sherlock Holmes a lot more sexier for today's audiences, compared to the rather stiff persona perceived so far, picking up the various clues from the books and cranking those elements up by a mile. It's hard to find someone who's never heard of Holmes' superb powers of observation and deduction, being that consulting detective for the police, but never one comfortable with the limelight.

Ritchie had sexed up the characters of Holmes (Robert Downey Jr) and his trusty assistant Dr John Watson (Jude Law) so much, that you can't deny the homoerotic vibes that reverberate all around when these two gentlemen grace the screen in the same scene, obviously still trying to work out emotional issues with their brotherly bonds now threatened with Watson's engagement to Mary Morstan (Kelly Reilly), and his moving out of their operating apartment. There's this perpetual reluctance in allowing Watson to leave, and the jibes that they share is unquestionably very much like a bickering, seasoned couple, toward the end of a close partnership which had yielded tremendous success.

Which became the opening scene of the film, where we see the dynamic duo working hand in hand to crack and solve a case of demonic rituals as conducted by Lord Blackwood (Mark Strong), a villain who is pronounced dead by hanging, but turning up very much alive and walking the streets of London to exact his sinister plot based on Fear. Black magic, superstition and secret orders become the themes that Holmes and Watson, through science, have to solve before a New World Order gets underway in Old Victorian England, in an era just on the cusp of massive industrial revolution, having the landscape very much the highlight as well thanks to wonderful CG work that chugs along nicely in the background.

As a film for both fans of the Sherlock Holmes character and as an introduction, this film did its obligatory scenes well to bring you up to speed with the character and his idiosyncrasies, be it little tidbits like Holmes' erratic eating habits, the ordered chaos of 221B Baker Street, his roguish methods at times, the myriad of disguises employed and of course, Watson being the biographer of their joint exploits. Some of these elements get the in-your-face treatment, while others get quietly snuck into the narrative that will certainly delight fans who spot them.

And Guy Ritchie stamps his usual trademarks with the flash forwards and backwards to highlight some of these prowesses, from his monologues on the deductions formed, to that of spicing up the limited hand-to-hand combat to show off Holmes' natural advantage when having to rely on brute force thanks to physics and anatomical knowledge, not to mention coming with a touch of arrogance in determining how long his opponent will be out of action. Ritchie would seem to be at home with his filmography boasting a vast array of character thugs, now having his same storytelling technique applied to the other side of the law.

Some may think that Robert Downey Jr and Jude Law share no chemistry, but I disagree. Their scenes together as Holmes and Watson couldn't be any better, and I would be hard pressed to think of another buddy pairing, which would bring out the same spirit as buddy- cop pairings from the past, such as that from the Lethal Weapon series with Gibson-Glover. Both men bring about a cavalier attitude to their respective roles, and seemed to be having a heck of a good time when paired up together, utilizing each of their specific skill sets brought to the table, especially when called upon to use their fists once in a while over their cerebral abilities. A major action sequence here also had this unbelievable fight which spilled from a lab to the docks, complete with sinking ship and flying anchors thanks yet again to the non-intrusive CG work.

The wildcard of the film proved to be Rachel McAdams as Irene Adler, the only woman who could catch Holmes' offguard, and well, the one who perennially escapes. Her role here is probably nothing more than to contribute to the setting up of the next film (if it materializes, though I don't see why not), with the shadow of Holmes' greatest nemesis Professor Moriaty constantly hovering, and which the filmmakers did quite brilliantly to keep him under wraps from the credits even, so that casting calls for a follow up movie would likely go into this frenzy when deciding who should step into those shoes to rival Holmes.

Only time would tell whether that follow up film would be made, but for now, do enjoy this jazzed up tale of Sherlock Holmes and Dr John Watson, in an adventure that would keep you at the edge of your seat. Highly recommended!
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3/10
Bitter toffee apple confection with a rotten core
PipAndSqueak31 December 2009
Yes it looks good ....or rather, that it ought to be good, but, it isn't. The acting is superb, the settings are superb, the props are superb, the script is fine, but the whole is very much less than the whole. It falls apart on so many levels one wonders what sort of skill it takes to ruin such a promising venture. Make no mistake this is one big failure of a film. The action fails to engage, the tension fails to appear, the love interest is flatter than a week old pancake, and Holmes's sleuthing is about as believable as the man in the moon. There's some pugilism that might interest boxers but that's about all. Two hours of mild diversion. I yawned several times. You will too.
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Physical and Manic
jdesando24 December 2009
Dr. John Watson: Holmes, does your depravity know no bounds? Sherlock Holmes: No.

The Da Vinci Code meets The Wild, Wild West by way of Jackie Chan and The Fight Club—Robert Downey, Jr. captures the manic, addictive nature of Sherlock Holmes without the sober intellectuality of Basil Rathbone, the Holmes against which all others are measured. Director Guy Ritchie sets a feverish pace for the Victorian detective story, allowing Downey to overindulge his acting tics and considerable athletic ability to create a modern emblem of the deductive thinker, imitating the more physical evidencing of CSI rather than the traditionally contemplative crime fighter of Conan Doyle's Holmes.

The intellectual side seems to come from the 20th-century attitude indulging of Holmes and Dr. Watson (Jude Law), himself an accomplished fighter and worrier. Their banter even when they are fighting a French giant (imagine that! shades of James Bond) is more Butch Cassidy than Sherlock Holmes.

As in the Da Vinci Code, the villain is associated with a secret powerful organization, like the Masons, that plans a serious overthrow of government and world domination. Lord Blackwood (Mark Strong) is the pre-Moriarity evil brain, who seemingly has come back from the dead to further his nefarious plot.

Holmes, like Dan Brown's Robert Langdon, is the brains outside the police solving Blackwood's crimes because Inspector Lestrade and his cops are clueless. Not that we don't get the usual Holmesian lectures about the simple clues we and Lestrade missed; it's just that Downey delivers them rapid fire as if he couldn't wait to get to the next athletic activity. Rathbone could deliver them like sipping a fine wine.

The strength of the film is in the physicality, from meticulously designed London settings to incessant and overly long fisticuffs. The bare knuckling allows Downey to be shirtless, a plus for older folks who thought such a physique the province of men half his age.

The presence of gifted criminal Irene Adler (Rachel McAdams) is a welcome touch as she sparks the kind of analysis Holmes needs most—of himself. Ritchie has picked this little part of the Holmes legend wisely but fails to expand it in a classic opportunity lost to the relentless action.

This Sherlock Holmes is a 20th century quick-cut sleuth in 19th century waistcoat. I have plenty of memories of that hyperactive 20th; I just wanted to smoke a pipe in the 19th with a reserved Holmes and listen to the deductions of his exploits.

I'll wait for the Rathbone reruns.

Dr. John Watson: (to Holmes drinking a liquid) "You do know what you are drinking is meant for eye surgery?"
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1/10
the nadir
guenzeld4 January 2010
I guess what is more depressing than this abominable movie is the many laudatory reviews I have read here. Are audiences today so jaded, so utterly disconnected from even their recent past, so completely lobotomized that they would find kind words to say about such dreck as this? I had thought that the unspeakable 1979 pastiche of HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES with Dudley Moore was about as low as one could get in the filming of a Sherlock Holmes story. I was clearly wrong. This is the end, the limit, the bottom of the calcium-encrusted barrel. Holmes admirers (those who understand and appreciate the fine originals) will stay away in droves if for no other reason than the hilarious miscasting of the lead characters. Mr Downey as Holmes and Mr Law as Watson rank right up there with such inspired casting choices as Tony Curtis playing a medieval knight and Sharon Stone playing a gunfighter of the old west. Ridiculous.

I doubt that Hollywood's renowned contempt for its audiences can be better illustrated than by this movie. Do moviegoers really enjoy having their intelligences insulted with such grand insouciance?

It is both pointless and useless to go on. We have given up what little culture we have left by allowing these amateurs to take great classics and turn them into idiotic roller-coaster rides. A paying public that can applaud, let alone part with the money to see, such a movie is clearly a public that can no longer recognize quality.

Some years ago, just before he passed away, the great producer Darryl Zanuck said "I know audiences feed on cr_p. But I cannot believe we are so lacking in ability that we cannot dish it up to them with a little style". Why bother, Mr Zanuck? Apparently anything thrown out to movie audiences today will be lapped up like cream.

Stay home and read a Conan Doyle original.
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