In theaters Dec 25th 2009
Guy Ritchie rips the Holmes character from Arthur Conan Doyle's cold dead hands and breaths a whole new life into the franchise with this stylized re-envisioning. Robert Downey Jr continues his stellar comeback with a blockbuster performance as the unkempt detective whose meticulous attention to detail can dissect one to the most minute detail from across the room in just moments. Holmes' comrade and flat mate Watson is flawlessly executed by Jude Law, the two coming off a more bromanitic odd couple than partners in crime solving. This first installment (of what will surely be a series of films) pits wits between Downey's Holmes and Ritchie staple Mark Strong's Lord Blackwood, a sort of 1800's Lord Voldemort; evil beyond reproach, returned from beyond the grave and hell bent on bringing the world to its knees via a shadowy cabal who hold the reigns of the government and police. Ritchie's signature quick-cut film style that he perfected in his previous films is used with some effect to illustrate the workings of Holmes' mind as he plots out fight moves or picks apart the layers of Blackwood's deception. Meanwhile Holmes is frequently distracted by the sultry and deceptive vixen Irene Adler (Rachel McAdams), the only woman to have ever outsmarted the legendary smarty pants. The underlying romance never ignites between them due to a lack of trust, but their obvious passion for one another warms the cold gray overtone of dreary old London. The story itself lacked any real surprises, playing heavily on the DaVinci Code-meets-From Hell conspiracy theorist wet dream of a secret society that controls everything and the run up of a small handful of heroes narrowly thwarting their world domination aspirations. But in the end, this movie is simply an action packed set up for a much larger work, setting the stage for Holmes to face his greatest nemesis Professor Moriarty, who appears only in shadows in this first installment. This is a great film to watch, visually exceptional in set, costume and effects, it is one of the very few this year worthy of the big screen.
"Sherlock Holmes," a Warner Bros. release, is rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, some startling images and a scene of suggestive material. Running time: 129 minutes.