As an admitted Guy Ritchie fanatic (Okay, but to be fair, did ANYBODY enjoy Swept Away or Revolver?) I was a little nervous for his first PG-13 movie. I mean, half of what there is to love about his rough around the edge characters from previous movies is their delightfully foul mouths. That paired with my little to no experience with Sherlock Holmes, aside from The Young Sherlock Holmes and a very special Wishbone in which the jack-russell played the famous sleuth, and you have a sizable amount of concern.
However, when watching the film, I found myself surprisingly entertained. Admittedly, there was nothing too engrossing (I think I checked my e-mail once or twice during it) but it was fun and it didn’t seem like the movie was aiming for much more than that. I mean, sure it’s got your standard explosions and fight scenes, but once again, as is usually the case with a Guy Ritchie movie, he takes familiar material (after all Lock Stock, Snatch, and RockNRolla are pretty much all the same movie) and makes it feel new again.
Let’s be real, he doesn’t do it with innovative plot twists, although I was quite impressed with the conclusion of Sherlock Holmes, but he finds a way to make his movies seem alive through the editing. The editing kept me on my toes and engaged in a way that only Guy Ritchie movies can do.
However, I shouldn’t give all the credit to details like editing. Robert Downey Jr. is captivating (as he pretty much always is to me) in the role of Sherlock Holmes with an impressive comedic sensibility in the role. I wasn’t so much nervous about him in the role of Sherlock as I was about the role itself being stuffy and condescending. However, I should’ve known better with the director/star team. Even Jude Law seems to be mildly likable in the role of Watson.While he’s certainly no scene stealer, he’s able to hold his own in this movie with help from Downey Jr. The two really do make a fine pair as the crime-solving duo.
Still, just as much credit belongs to Rachel McAdams, who plays Irene Adler in the movie. She’s intoxicating in the role of the femme fatale. I found myself always suspicious of her motives, but disarmed by her charm and beauty. I can imagine that this is exactly what they were going for and if so, it certainly worked.
Finally, as is the case with most of these types of movies, the villain Lord Blackwood, played by Mark Strong, is perhaps one of the most interesting characters. I wished that he’d had more screen time, but every time he was in the scene, I found myself captivated by him. Although there could have been more character development, he was so terrifically evil in the role that I was torn by the end of the movie.
All in all, Sherlock Holmes is by no means a perfect movie and can seem a little flat in some parts, but is the energy and conviction of the cast and the characters they play that kept me watching. Combined with the trademark editing of director Guy Ritchie’s previous films, which is an admittedly unlikely pairing, and you have a thoroughly enjoyable blockbuster well worth your time.