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Holmes-ward Bound

Departing ever so quickly from football, I went to see Sherlock Holmes with my wife the other night.  We were both into the movie. I’ve been a Holmes fan since I read the complete works in 5th grade.  I had been begging my wife to read them for years, and she recently started and immediately loved them.  I’ve also been a Guy Ritchie fan since Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels came out.  I also think Snatch is a vastly underrated movie as well and own copies of both.  I thought the trailer for the movie looked awful (to my great disappointment), and hadn’t planned on seeing it, but once the early word came in that Sherlock Holmes was faithful to the spirit of the books and stories, we were gung ho to see it.

While Holmes is not a perfect movie, I have to say that I’ve rarely enjoyed myself so much.  The acting and dialogue is excellent and Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law dominate the screen with their wit and chemistry.  The most distracting aspect was that we’ve recently been reluctantly watching the Holmes derivative House MD, and it’s hard not feel like you are watching House and Wilson half the time. That’s only because they are working with the same source material as inspiration, however.  The two lead actors are tremendous in every way.  The scenes where Holmes analyzes how to defeat an opponent at fisticuffs are spectacular.

The only negative things I would say about the movie are that several of the set pieces went on too long.  The fistfights with the large Frenchman were too long and unsatisfying.  I want less action and more dialogue, but maybe that’s because at 33, I’m already an old dude and would rather watch snappy banter than a long chase scene.  The other modest flaw in the movie is that Rachel McAdams is horribly miscast as Irene Adler. McAdams is a good enough actress, but she just doesn’t click with the Law and Downey.  The real problem is that she is too young to play the role.  Adler is supposed to have outwitted Holmes on various occasions, and in this film, Holmes is played by a 44 year old actor.  McAdams is 31, but plays younger on screen.  Cate Blanchett, who is 40, would be a much more age appropriate leading lady for this movie and would have had the kind of gravitas that McAdams simply doesn’t have.

The movie is meant to be fun, but for the most part manages to be smart as well.  I’ve heard that there are plans to extend the franchise, and as long as Downey and Law are involved, we’ll be the first in line.  In a way, this movie is similar to Star Trek in my mind.  Both films were based on characters and franchises that I care passionately about.  Both movies managed to breathe new life into them without sacrificing anything of the original spirit.  In fact, this version of Holmes is far more true to the books than any of the other film versions I’ve seen.  I highly recommend and enjoyed the film, and it will be one I chose to own and happily rewatch.