One would not have thought Guy Ritchie was the man to take on a classical narrative such as Sherlock Holmes, but he proves to be the exact director for the project; he breathes a sense of life and danger into the characters that has not existed in any other adaptation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s work.
After finally catching serial killer and occult sorcerer Lord Blackwood (Mark Strong), legendary sleuth Sherlock Holmes (Robert Downey Jr.) and his assistant Dr. Watson (Jude Law) can successfully close another case. But when Blackwood mysteriously returns from the grave and resumes his killing spree, Holmes must take up the hunt once again. Contending with his partner’s new fiancée (Kelly Reilly) and the dimwitted head of Scotland Yard (Eddie Marsan), the master detective must unravel the clues that will lead him into a twisted web of murder, deceit, and black magic – and the deadly embrace of temptress Irene Adler (Rachel McAdams).
This tale has true grit, not shying away from Holmes’ less worthy traits such as drug use, recreational fighting and being a general miscreant. In fact, it is these inclusions that make the picture so outstanding. It’s a very interesting approach to a classic character that has always appeared to be a stuffy genius. In addition, the “Holmes Vision” is inspired; to see a breakdown of his cognitive skills is fascinating.
Downey Jr. is simply brilliant. His skill for language and personal fitness are perfectly complementary to the character. In addition, his natural cheekiness shines through in various scenes. Law is almost casted against type as Watson is more subdued than his usual sensual characters, but he portrays Holmes’ devoted sidekick seamlessly. It is also a welcome change to see McAdams in a less sugary role, though her cunning could be more devious. Strong has the right look for the sinister character in a murder mystery and also plays the part quite well.
Finally the transformed scene of London’s landscape is stunning. One of the final shots of the film that slowly zooms out to show the panoramic view is amazing.
Special features include: Maximum Movie Mode, which includes director walk-ons, picture-in-picture, storyboard comparisons, stills galleries, focus points (eight featurettes) and the timeline while watching the film; “Sherlock Holmes: Reinvented,” a documentary exploring Ritchie and Downey Jr.’s interpretation of the great detective; and digital and DVD copies of the film.