BOF HOME
DCCOMICS-ON-FILM.COM -- DC movie news from BOF!
BATMAN-IN-COMICS.COM -- Batman comics news and reviews!
ON-FILM.NET -- Film reviews from BOF!


Author: Sean Gerber
December 23, 2009

Follow BOF on TWITTER.COM!
Follow BOF on TWITTER.COM!
Bookmark and Share

OFFICIAL SYNOPSIS
Sherlock Holmes has made his reputation finding the truth at the heart of the most complex mysteries. With the aid of Dr. John Watson, his trusted ally, the renowned "consulting detective" is unequaled in his pursuit of criminals of every stripe, whether relying on his singular powers of observation, his remarkable deductive skills, or the blunt force of his fists. But now a storm is gathering over London, a threat unlike anything that Holmes has ever confronted...and just the challenge he's looking for. After a string of brutal, ritualistic murders, Holmes and Watson arrive just in time to save the latest victim and uncover the killer: the unrepentant Lord Blackwood. As he approaches his scheduled hanging, Blackwood--who has terrorized inmates and jailers alike with his seeming connection to dark and powerful forces--warns Holmes that death has no power over him and, in fact, his execution plays right into Blackwood's plans. And when, by all indications, Blackwood makes good on his promise, his apparent resurrection panics London and confounds Scotland Yard. But to Holmes, the game is afoot. Racing to stop Blackwood's deadly plot, Holmes and Watson plunge into a world of the dark arts and startling new technologies, where logic is sometimes the best crime-fighting weapon...but where a good right hook will often do the job.

DIRECTED BY
Guy Ritchie

WRITERS
Michael Robert Johnson, Anthony Peckham, Simon Kinberg

CAST
Robert Downey, Jr., Jude Law, Rachel McAdams, Mark Strong

OFFICIAL SITE
SHERLOCK-HOLMES-MOVIE.COM

Buy SHERLOCK HOLMES Tickets! REVIEW

In 2008, Robert Downey, Jr. gave birth to a new franchise with his charismatic portrayal of a “lesser known” comic book superhero in IRON MAN. In 2009, he’s done it again for a character many people know only by an iconic name and a handful of catchphrases. When the world gets a chance to see SHERLOCK HOLMES, opening Christmas Day, they’re going to want to see a lot more of the 19th Century’s “World’s Greatest Detective.”

In SHERLOCK HOLMES, director Guy Ritchie manages to produce the gritty look and feel his films are often known for while never siphoning away the film’s ability to be purely entertaining and fun. Ritchie masterfully places the deductive, logical Sherlock Holmes in a plot that challenges the iconic detective with apparently supernatural occurrences. It’s the kind of story that will make fans of Matt Wagner’s DARK MOON RISING stories start throwing Ritchie’s name in the hat to succeed Christopher Nolan in the Batman franchise. The same goes for writers Michael Robert Johnson, Anthony Peckham, and Simon Kinberg.

Downey, Jr. brings a charisma and heart to the Sherlock Holmes character that many moviegoers, especially Americans like myself, never knew he had. Being unfamiliar with much of the Holmes mythos, I won’t presume to make a judgment on how faithful (or unfaithful) this portrayal may be, but frankly, what Downey, Jr. turned in was so engaging that I don’t much care. It’s a performance that demonstrates just why he is fast becoming one of the more bankable stars in Hollywood.

Of course, Holmes’ fun and games would never be so enjoyable, if not for Dr. John Watson being there to keep things grounded, which Jude Law certainly does. While Holmes is unapologetically addicted to adventure, Law’s Watson is the wannabe straight man who just can’t stay on the wagon when it means passing up on an opportunity for some excitement alongside his partner. As desperately as Watson thinks he wants to get away from a life of danger and intrigue, he’ll never be able to resist so long as Holmes is there to serve as the ultimate enabler.

The subject of Holmes’ and Watson’s case is the perhaps supernatural Lord Blackwood, played by Mark Strong. Blackwood is seeking to conquer the world with his sorcery and his methods prove challenging for Holmes’ scientific mind. Blackwood effectively pushes Holmes to demonstrate just how great of a detective he really is. As pure, holiday fun at the movies, SH is a success, but it is also more than that. It is a blockbuster affair that knows just how to ground itself and not spin off into a complete fantasy adventure. It is raw and rough around the edges while remaining fit for popcorn-munching, thrill-seeking moviegoers everywhere. It leaves the audience unable to resist and as desperate for more adventures as Holmes and Watson.

Something tells me they’ll all get their wish.

GRADE: A

Sean Gerber is a longtime BOF'er and site contributor.
He also is the host of the BATMAN ON FILM PODCAST.


BATMAN ON FILM, © 1998-present William E. Ramey. All rights reserved.
BATMAN AND ALL RELATED CHARACTERS AND ELEMENTS ARE TRADEMARKS OF AND © DC COMICS. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
Read BOF's PRIVACY POLICY.