PG-13, 128 min.
Director: Guy Ritchie
Writers: Michael Robert Johnson, Anthony Peckham, Simon Kinberg, Lionel Wigram, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (characters)
Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Jude Law, Rachel McAdams, Mark Strong, Eddie Marsan, Robert Maillet, Geraldine James, Kelly Reilly, William Houston, Hans Matheson, James Fox, William Hope
The new big screen franchise of “Sherlock Holmes” is just that. It’s big. It’s bombastic. It turns Sherlock into more of an action hero than a sleuth. Yet, it still works. I can’t help but think that without Robert Downey Jr. in the title role, this movie would just be a big stinking pile of action crap. Downey, however finds a way to make his action hero version of Holmes just quirky and dysfunctional enough to remain an interesting hero. Jude Law works the charm pretty heavy as Watson as well.
I liked this movie when I saw it in theaters despite myself. It lacks the subtle intelligence of most successful versions of Holmes, yet it’s so much fun, you just can’t help but have a good time watching it. Watching it again, it was still a thrilling ride. I don’t think it would hold up under multiple viewings held much closer together than every four years, however. Downey sleuths by cleverness rather than actual detection. He couldn’t deduce anything any other way here from all the punches he has to dodge and explosions he must shelter himself from.
Still Guy Ritchie’s direction keeps everything moving fast enough that the audience has little more time to stop and think about anything than the characters do. This is a version that succeeds mostly on the charm of the players. It’s hard to imagine that any other group of actors could muster enough to make this work, but they nailed it with the casting, so there you go.