Having always been something of a purist when it comes to Sherlock Holmes, I was somewhat wary before watching the new Sherlock Holmes movie by Guy Ritchie. I had seen one or two reviews, and by and large they were unfavourable. So I just had to see it for myself.
As Ritchie’s first big budget ($90million) movie he is surely looking for a box-office smash. As a terrific fan of the early Holmes movies, particularly those starring Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce. Also a great admirer of the Jeremy Brett TV series, this film was something of a revelation.
Guy Ritchie has certainly put his own stamp on the character, not only Sherlock Holmes, played by Robert Downey Jr. but also that of Dr. John Watson (Jude Law). Personally, having read all the stories by Arthur Conan Doyle many times, I rather think that this characterisation of Watson is much more as the author intended.
Doyle never envisaged Watson as an affable, chubby buffoon. He was written as an Afghan war veteran, strong and thin, and expert with a revolver. Much more in fact as he is portrayed in this film. It would seem that Guy Ritchie has actually read some Sherlock Holmes and got it pretty much right. Downey’s portrayal of the great detective is gritty and wonderfully played.
The story centres around the character of Lord Blackwood (played by Mark Strong) who has been doing a Jack-The-Ripper impression, killing young ladies. However he is not your common or garden serial killer, having delusions of world domination involving the black arts.
There is lots more action in this film than any other Sherlock Holmes that I have seen. It works well here. Downey’s bare knuckle fight scene is excellent, if a bit spacey at times, and I loved the scene where Watson smacks Holmes on the nose when he gets objectionable over Watson’s engagement and pending marriage to Mary Morstan (Kelly Reilly).
The female interest is added to by the inclusion of the character of Irene Adler, a pretty much throwaway character as written by Doyle, but given much more prominence here as the ex girl (lady) friend of Sherlock Holmes. Played by Rachel McAdams, she has a a fairly major role working for a inscrutable employer who apparently wants Holmes to investigate the murder of a chemist who is connected somehow to the resurrected Lord Blackwood.
The final scenes, played out on the almost completed Tower Bridge, are worthy of any Bruce Willis or Stevan Segal action-thriller. Much to my surprise I thoroughly enjoyed this latest Sherlock Holmes film, and I think Guy Ritchie has finally got his blockbuster.