Guy Ritchie’s adaptation of is vastly different from the one initially introduced by Arthur Conan Doyle. In this movie, he is transformed from a charming detective into a boxing, possibly insane, and ridiculously quick thinking action hero.
Robert Downey Jr. does a good job of portraying this new and improved Sherlock Holmes, while Jude Law plays his faithful sidekick Dr. Watson. This movie starts off with them successfully capturing a murderous black magic leader named Lord Blackwood, played by Mark Strong.
Lord Blackwood is hung, but somehow remains alive and continues to murder people. Slowly but surely, Holmes and Watson learn of his dangerous plan to wreak havoc with the help of his black magic followers. The plot is a tad far-fetched, but it makes for great action sequences for action fans.
There is no shortage of action and fight scenes, to be expected in a Ritchie film. While the action scenes are well done, there are parts where it seems a bit pointless and gratuitous. It also gets annoying when Holmes constantly outlines everything he is about to do slowly in his mind before actually doing it. This is done by Richie to showcase Holmes’ intellectual abilities, but it is a bit unrealistic, even for Holmes.
The new Holmes as played by Downey is likeable in the anti-hero kind of way, although at times he does come off as antisocial and extremely self-absorbed. Ritchie also takes it to the max with Holmes’s intelligence level and thought processes, as mentioned previously, almost to the point where it’s irritating and unrealistic. No one can possibly think that fast.
The relationship between Watson and Holmes has also been altered from loyal sidekick to a full-fledged bromance full of bickering and fighting. It works most of the time, generating some comic relief, although it gets a little annoying and distracting.
Watson is getting ready to move out and be married to Mary Morstan, played by Kelly Reilly, and Holmes is not happy about it at all. He attempts to draw Watson away from his fiancé and back to detective work as much as possible, creating many funny situations.
The new Watson is actually more true to the original Watson than other versions. In the past movie-makers have portrayed him as bumbling and slow sidekick to Holmes, which is not true to the original stories. Law plays him well, giving him plenty of bravery and wit deserving of a war veteran.
Rachel McAdams plays Irene Adler, the only person to ever outwit Holmes. Her character serves as a foil and romantic interest to Holmes. This was one of the biggest changes to the traditional Sherlock Holmes, who never showed any interest in females. While McAdams does a good job in the roll, her part seems a little forced; she doesn’t do much, and her motives are vague.
Richie introduces archenemy Professor Moriarty as a minor character in this movie, opening the door for a definite sequel. While it is understandable why he would want to do this, Professor Moriarity’s role is not really needed, and audiences who are not familiar with his part in the traditional novels are left feeling a little confused with his random mysterious appearances.
One of the commendable features of this movie is the outstanding set and costumes. It is set in London during the late 19th century, and the buildings, costumes, and dialogue are all very convincing of this period.
Overall, this movie is a pretty good action flick, even though the plot is a little short of exceptional. The acting is commendable, and Ritchie did a good job with the action sequences and the realistic set and costumes. Avid Sherlock fans may not like the new , but this movie will definitely find an audience with action movie fans.