Sherlock Holmes (2009) Reviewed

It’s hard not to like Robert Downey Jr., but it’s also impossible to deny that he plays Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s most celebrated creation as a slightly subdued, hung-over Tony Stark. Try to imagine Basil Rathbone delivering some of the same dialogue written by five (!) credited writers and you get an idea of where this reimagining of the Sherlock Holmes character goes wrong. The limp central mystery, which involves ritual killings and a risen-from-the-grave villain is fun enough and director Guy Ritchie clings to what he does best – fist fights and over-the-top action set pieces, but almost everything about the story is instantly forgettable and disposable. Long-in-the-tooth pretty boy, Jude Law, plays Dr. Watson as a put-upon priss and Rachel McBride is given next to nothing to do as Holmes’ would-be femme fatale love interest. The homoerotic co-dependent bend of the Holmes/Watson pairing is overplayed for laughs. SH works best when it’s indulging in Richie’s gimmicky camera tricks and wallowing in the cruddy 19th century atmospherics. An intriguing epilogue leaves the door wide open for an inevitable sequel with a tantalizing revelation that points to the sinister handiwork of Holmes’ arch nemesis, Professor Moriarity. I expected the scales to be tilted in favor of style over substance, but Ritchie has definitely directed far more viceral and exciting flicks. This one sent me home with a smile, shrug and higher expectations for a sharper forthcoming follow-up. ** 1/2


~ by Number5ive on January 1, 2010.

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