The spirit of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle has been brought back to life in an energetic adaptation of his most famous characters, Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson. The film has received mixed reviews from critics but this reviewer thoroughly enjoyed it.
The story of the film is not based on a particular book, so don’t think that you can read it before seeing it. Instead, the film has placed the characters into a whole new plot. But what characters! Robert Downy Jr. is impeccable as Sherlock, playing a role he has always come close to playing in previous films but never quite realised. Few actors can produce such charm and arrogance in one performance. Jude Law, too, is excellent as Dr. Watson, the more coherent and socially apt sidekick. Alongside the two leading roles are two beautiful women, Rachel McAdams who plays the femme fatale and Kelly Reilly who plays Dr Watson’s fiancé. It seems that nothing could go wrong.
However, despite the strength of the characters and the acting, this film could have done with a better story. It starts off strong; the opening scene is dripping with English charm and fighting expertise. The plot then thickens when the evil villain does not die when he’s supposed to. However, after that the film starts to lose it’s way and the ending does not feel quite right. The pieces of the puzzle do fit together but one begins to feel that some of them have been forced into a space that was not quite the right shape.
That is not to take anything away from the cinematic experience. This film is blessed with some incredible and extraordinary fight scenes, magical special effects and a lot of very funny comic moments. Both Holmes and Dr. Watson have become exemplary fighters and the enemies are either magical or seven foot of French muscle. When watching the film one might feel that Sherlock is a more attractive and athletic Dr House. Certainly, some of the insights and witty dialogue could have been stolen from the popular TV show. However, where one is eternally reliant on a moment of inspiration, the other (Holmes) always seems to know the answers.
The film, almost inevitably, leaves a wide-open space for a sequel. It seems that films cannot just be films any more, they have to be franchises. However, do not let that put you off. Despite the sometimes-lacking plot, this is a good film. Sherlock Holmes is a well acted adaptation which is well worth seeing at the cinema. As the title of this piece suggests, it does not mess around. It is suave, sophisticated and comic. Go, enjoy.