The reviews that I read of the new Sherlock Holmes were mixed, ranging from two and-a-half to four stars. I come out on the side of those who believe the movie missed the mark.
The overextended plot involves the apparent sighting of Lord Blackwood (Mark Strong) who was hanged for crimes he committed. An examination of his coffin, however, reveals another man's body. Lord Blackwood is back to take over the world, a la Hitler if you listen carefully to his speech when he takes the House of Lords captive.
Holmes (Robert Downey Jr.) and Watson (Jude Law) are still living together at 221 Baker Street in London. Watson is now considering marriage to Mary Morstan (Kelly Reilly) and Holmes is pursued by Irene Adler (Rachel McAdams).
This new version of Sherlock Holmes is different that of yesteryear. The current Holmes is faced with the perils of Pauline including buzz saws and railroad tracks. I prefer the older version starring Basil Rathbone as Holmes, who portrayed his character more cerebrally with a curled lip and snide remarks. I especially enjoyed the end of those films when Holmes would pull together the lose ends and explain all that had taken place during the movie.
I'm a fan of Guy Ritchie, who directed this film and thought his picture Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels was terrific. Although there is a lot of action in this movie, the encounters of Victorian times can't compete with the outstanding action films being produced today. The Victorian sets are terrific and the performances of Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law, both consummate actors with a special style, are excellent. Nevertheless, their performances are not enough to compensate for a less than stellar script.
Notwithstanding my opinion, Sherlock Holmes is second on this week's gross income film list. Avatar is first. If you follow my advice and skip both pictures, you will save a minimum of $48 if you are on a date.
Photo courtesy of Warner Bros.