I must admit that I’ve never actually seen a Sherlock Holmes movie. The man is a household name yet he never had a movie as high-profile as this one released. Some big names have gathered here to take us back to Victorian England: Robert Downey Jr. as Sherlock Holmes, Jude Law as his trusty sidekick Watson, Amy Adams as the love-interest and Mark Strong as the villain Blackwood. Behind the camera is Guy Ritchie stepping away from gangster movies and trying something new. Sadly he’s less energetic here than he was in movies like Snatch and Lock, Stock… I looked forward with high anticipation to watching this movie but came back slightly disappointed as the movie is not as involving as I would have liked it to be.
Our introduction to Holmes is when he together with Watson solves a serial killer case and rescues a young girl from being sacrificed by Lord Blackwood. He saves the day and Lord Blackwood is sent to hang. But after his hanging Lord Blackwood mysteriously comes back to life. This is the case for Holmes to solve but will it be without Watson or not. A subplot in the movie has Watson being engaged and moving out from Holmes to live together with his fiance, and Holmes is not pleased with that and tries to stop this multiple times in the movie.
If the setting of the movie Holmes and Watson would probably be gay lovers. These two quarrel like a couple that have been in a relationship for several years. Half of the movie is about Holmes and Watson not coming out of the closet or so it seems.
But like in true Hollywood fashion our two male leads both have a female love interest. Watson a bland woman who has 5 minutes of screen time while Holmes has somewhat of an on/off relationship with Irene Adler (Amy Adams). She to only plays second fiddle in to our two heroes and only has a few moments where she shines. They’re both not important to the plot other than playing the damsel in distress.
But what it really comes down to is that the character of Holmes isn’t easy to like. Yes he’s a skilled fighter, has an uncanny sense of analyzing even the smallest details and on occasion is funny, but he’s also arrogant, untrustworthy and a bit annoying actually. Even though we’re on his side it’s only because there is no one better to like. Even Watson, who’s the “straight” guy, is rather bland and his character isn’t really given much depth. Basically there was not one character I cared for as they’re all just seem to act on automatic pilot.
Not everything was bad about the movie though. Mark Strong might have been a boring Lord Blackwood, but one of his minions was truly memorable and he gets multiple fight scenes with Holmes. The London of that time was beautifully and very realistically recreated, including a Tower Bridge that’s still under construction. There are a couple of moments I laughed out loud, but I did expect more.
Sadly director Ritchy is less experimental with this movie than he was in previous films resulting in only a handful of scenes that sparkle with the same energy he injected in earlier movies.
Sherlock Holmes was not the movie I thought it would turn out to be, but it will probably entertain you nevertheless.