Sherlock Holmes Review

Sherlock HolmesDisappointment is a feeling no one enjoys, especially when it comes to a movie with a good deal of positive buzz surrounding it.  So, when it comes to Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes, a film boasting a great cast and director, it is even more of a let down.  Not to be mistaken, Holmes is an action-packed film with some great comedic relief, wit and an all around sense of verisimilitude.

It goes without saying that Robert Downey Jr. is one of the most dedicated actors working today.  Whether he’s a “the dude playin’ the dude, disguised as another dude,” or the unlikely choice of a lead in the blockbuster Iron Man, which exceeded most everyone’s imaginations, the man is now a movie star.  Therefore, it only made sense that both he and one of the more respected directors of the past decades would eventually cross paths.  The duo was able to help bring to screen one of the quirkiest characters seen since the likes of a Wes Anderson Tenenbaum.  However, it’s a shame their dedication towards Holmes’s character didn’t translate with the story’s narrative.  In 2008, Ritchie’s most recent film RocknRolla was released, one of the more underrated action/comedy films of the last few years, so, naturally, when news first broke about the pairing of Downey Jr. and Ritchie, intrigue and excitement were abounded. 

First off, the positives: RDJ knocks it out of the park.  He’s the shining light in this otherwise muddled affair.  It can be said that he has not chosen a bad role since 2005’s severely overlooked Kiss, Kiss, Bang, Bang, save his choice of The Soloist.  Sure, his accent may be a little off, and his speech is often mumbled, but it’s his comedic timing and charm that shine through.  Intimate moments that seem to be overlooked as he examines a crime scene come back later at crucial moments to play a larger role in the narrative, in traditional Ritchie style.

Perhaps the most surprising role in the film was that of Jude Law.  By now, audiences are used to his womanizing, leading man roles.  Law was wise to take a step back from this style and play sidekick for this adventure.  His efforts did not go unnoticed, as his chemistry with Downey Jr. was absolutely superb.  Going in, it felt as if he might be the weakest link in the mix; however, it is only Law’s character of Dr. John Watson that is fully fleshed out during the movie.   The same cannot be said about the two antagonists, Mark Strong’s Lord Blackwood, and Rachel McAdams’s ever-conniving Irene Adler.

Strong was unfairly left out of much of the film.  After his role in Ritchie’s RocknRolla, expectations for the man’s career were heightened.  It was a shame to see his character limited to work in the shadows, when he is capable of commanding more screen time.  He has all the magnetism and charisma of a George Clooney or ­­­­­­­­a Brad Pitt.

The weakest part of this film was Adler, played by Rachel McAdams.  McAdams is not a terrible actress by any means; sure she hasn’t had the best of roles, but that can’t be held against her.  Here, however, her Adler character does absolutely nothing to advance the film’s narrative.  Her purpose is to serve as a semi-love interest for Holmes, but ultimate role is to set up Moriarty, Sherlock Holmes’s grand nemesis.  Of course, this setup will only be worthwhile if the film garners enough praise and revenue to warrant a sequel.

Acting aside, it is Guy Ritchie who seems to have let this film get away from him.  Half the time he wants to beckon to prior films like Snatch, but his strengths have always resided in a contemporary setting.  RocknRolla looked vividly stunning with modern day London as a backdrop, and made it seem as if there was no other city on in the world that could compare.  But when it comes to period pieces, it just seems like a genre Ritchie should stay clear from, at least for now.  One can empathize with his desire to try something new, but it just didn’t click for him this time.

In all, Sherlock Holmes is not the worst movie in theaters right now by any means.  But it also is not a film that has lived up to the talent levels of those involved.  A valiant effort, yet one that falls short.


Sherlock Holmes Theatrical Poster



3 Responses to “Sherlock Holmes Review”

  1. Gregg

    Adam, it seemed like there were more positives than negatives, but your final conclusion on the film wasn’t a favorable one. I’m confused.

  2. Adam

    that’s why i don’t like writing reviews. i’ll stick to editorials.

  3. Brian White

    Greg…if I may…I feel the need to defend Adam’s position here. I encourage you to go see this film. Much like my own review, I feel the same way that Adam does. This is an awkward film to grade. While there are plenty of positive things to say about it, there is also something that just does not seeem right about the movie. It’s unexplainable, but I would love to hear your take on it once you see it.