Review Catch-Up: “Sherlock Holmes”

January 18, 2010 at 6:02 am Leave a comment

The famous 19th-century detective has been reimagined for today’s 21-century audiences, and has led to some mixed results.  While the film, as a whole, is enjoyable, it suffers from real stretches in logic, unnecessary scenes, and for just being too damn long.

Good news is that the acting pretty much saves this movie.

Robert Downy, Jr. (who just received a Best Actor Golden Globe for this role) plays the title character.  He’s not your stiff, well-mannered English detective; Holmes is indeed intelligent, which gives him the uncanny ability to analyze every situation, no matter how dangerous.  But, it leaves him lacking, especially int he etiquette department.  He’s constantly the social foil of his crime-fighting partner, Dr. John Watson.  Watson acts as Holmes’ agent, finding him crimes to solve.  He’s no slouch in combat either, after having spent time in the British army, Watson can hold his own in a fight alongside Holmes.  But his want of a ‘normal’ life puts him at odds with his famous detective partner.

Rounding out the cast is Rachel McAdams as Irene Adler, a former flame of Sherlock’s; Mark Strong as the seemingly immortal Lord Blackwood; and Eddie Marsan as Inspector Lastrade, Holmes’ liason to the police.  While all are good, McAdams seemed the most wasted here.  She’s a real talent, but in Sherlock Holmes, she’s reduced to playing up the sexy femme fatale role without any real ‘bite’.

I won’t go over the plot, as it becomes nonsensical (it involves some crazy rich guy’s scheme to take over England, and then the world).  What I will say about it is it leads to some great action scenes, although a few are unnecessary.  For example, during the movie Holmes and Watson investigate an apartment belonging to an underling of Lord Blackwood’s.  They get into a fight with a few thugs, including one giant Frenchman.  It’s a funny and inventive fight, but all of a sudden Holmes and the giant carry the battle to a shipyard, where it continues for another five or so minutes.  Long story short, the Frenchman gets away (as he did when he fled to the shipyard), and nothing had changed since leaving the apartment.

The shipyard scene wasn’t needed at all, and it’s scenes like that which make the movie drag into the 2-hour mark.  While I’m not saying every movie needs to come in an 90 minutes; once you breach 120 minutes, you’d better have a damn good story to back it up, and Holmes doesn’t have it.

Sherlock Holmes is still an enjoyable ride, though.  Guy Ritchie knows how to handle his visuals, with stunning views of 19th-Century London (albeit mostly CG).  Kudos also to the sound team for some great sound design.  As flawed as the story and pacing of this flick are, I can say that I’ll most definitely be watching the inevitable sequel.


(images from Yahoo!)


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