If you go to Sherlock Holmes expecting anything resembling Basil Rathbone or any other incarnation of the staid Sherlock Holmes of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s books, you’ll be happily surprised (or sadly disappointed) by Guy Ritchie’s imaginative 21st century, testosterone driven, new version of the detective series. Watching Robert Downey, Jr. and Jude Law as Holmes and Watson is a totally entertaining couple of hours.
Robert Downey’s Sherlock is anything but staid. He may be brilliant, but that British upper crust veneer that has been his usual cover is gone. This Sherlock is a brawling, drinking, less than clean cut mess and Watson is there to try and keep him from himself. And Jude Law’s Watson is anything but the bumbling sidekick of the older films; he’s right in there with Holmes fighting, detecting and getting into various kinds of deep trouble. He is also in the midst of extracting himself from their relationship so he can get married. They make a nice couple, but you see early on that this may be their last case.
The case at hand has to do with catching a somewhat supernatural murderer of young women who is caught and hanged, then miraculously (to everyone except Holmes, of course) comes back from the dead and threatens all of London with his evil powers. Plot points include a secret society, an old flame of Holmes’, various bad guys, good and bad cops, members of Parliament, and lots of interesting clues that must be solved. Holmes and Watson follow them all to their conclusion and of course save the country. While there are two women in the film (Rachel McAdams as Holmes’ old flame brought there by a mysterious stranger specifically to get Holmes involved in this case, and Kelly Reilly as Watson’s fiancé), this is really an “odd couple” buddy film and the chemistry between Downey and Law is just plain yummy. In all fairness, script-wise the actual solving of the case itself isn’t really all that compelling, but watching Downey and Law get to the end is.
The ending is entirely a set-up for a sequel, and I hope they do a couple if they can keep the fun and the chemistry going. I’d recommend this movie for the whole family, as a nice date movie, and as a chicks’ outing, too.