Two things come to mind after the credits roll for the new Sherlock Holmes movie. The first is how good Robert Downey, Jr. is, and second, that director, Guy Ritchie, has potential for becoming more famous for his directorial skills than by being Madonna’s ex-husband.
The fast-paced adventure which ran about two hours is a roller coaster ride, has great special effects, and presents an intriguing story about witchcraft and world dominance. The most fun, though, is watching Downey ponder the movie’s mystery while twiddling on the violin, and explaining how he came to his various mind boggling deductions. There is a clever use of slow-mo to let us see Holmes’ mind at work.
It’s interesting to note that Holmes is presented as much the super hero as he is a rumpled genius; he can preplan a physical attack, determining where to apply the body blows to cause the most damage. He shows a talent for the quick disguise, and a weakness for Irene, played by Rachel McAdams. (Though I kept picturing Helena Bonham Carter in the role.) She is the only woman to outwit Holmes, and their interplay is charming. The story’s pace keeps the interest, though the plot seems a bit obvious. But in a battle between good and evil, isn’t it always?
Jude Law does an admirable job as Dr. Watson, who is now seen as debonair, smart, and, like Holmes, able to hold his own in a brawl; a welcome change from the doddering, elderly presentation of Watson in the old black and white Basil Rathbone movies. Fans of the series will be glad to hear that Inspector LeStrade, Professor Moriarty and even housekeeper, Mrs. Hudson, are all given their due. It wouldn’t be a true Holmes story without them.
But it’s Downey who steals the show as a lovable mess-cat, devoted friend, and an all around clever guy. When not solving a case, he’s seen obsessively inventing potions or proving/disproving theories which helps fill out Holmes’ personality, making you want to know if he was like this s a kid. There are great shots of London in the late 1800’s, street scenes with horse and buggies and picturesque views of the Tower Bridge under construction, and all add a dazzling quality to the film. Rated PG-13.