Sherlock Holmes holds the world record for most portrayals of any character – ever – in movies and our pop culture has certainly refined his image to near mythical levels: deer-stalker hat, smoking pipe, magnifying glass, emotionally distant demeanor and that infamous cocaine habit. While Guy Ritchie's (Snatch, RocknRolla) new action-hero interpretation seems to buck this trend, a closer look reveals a film that is quite worthy of the Holmesian canon, even if for pure novelty value.
Robert Downey Jr plays the famous consulting detective much like his other famous role: Tony Stark from Iron Man. Jude Law's Dr Watson compliments this; armed with a sword-cane, amazing pistol skills and tendency to interview suspects with his fists. Together they scramble to save London from a dark magician named Lord Blackwood (Mark Strong) who has risen from the grave and set afoot a plan to seize control of England.
Although the film offers up an unsurprisingly paint-by-numbers story, what makes Ritchie's film worthy is its attention to detail. Victorian London has never looked so accurately dirty and literary fans will enjoy the wall-to-wall in-jokes and dialogue lifted directly from Conan Doyle's writing. Ritchie's own brand of humor features prominently, delivered note-perfect by the very charismatic Downey Jr and Law partnership, all bolstered by an unconventionally period-inspired score by Hans Zimmer. There is more to this Bruckheimer-style Sherlock Holmes than meets the eye and if you can forgive action-movie sensibilities then there is much to be enjoyed by Holmes fans and newbies alike.