After snivelling all morning over Harry Potter dying in World War I (see review of My Boy Jack) I took myself to the movie theatre for a good time with Sherlock Holmes. I needed entertaining and got it in spades.
It was a fun two hours watching Robert Downey, Jr., and Jude Law solve an apparent supernatural mystery that threatened the very heart of British government. The two leads had a very good rapport on screen, much akin to the Odd Couple, and clearly had a lot of fun while making this movie. I liked the not-quite steampunk vibe used throughout the movie, the setting just on the cusp of exiting the Victorian age and entering the twenty-first century. It also helped rough up the Holmes character, getting away from the stuffy plaid deerstalker hat and acknowledging the vices Sir Arthur Conan Doyle gave to his sleuth and sidekick. In addition, Guy Ritchie and the effects/stunt designers did a great job on two slow-motion action sequences when Holmes describes what he does step-by-step....and then does it (I would have liked to have that effect return later in the film rather than used twice in the first 20 minutes then no more throughout the remainder).
I was glad to see the Irene Adler character (played by Rachael MacAdams) wasn't so ditzy as the previews made her out to be; some of the preview scenes were not in the movie so that did help. Adler appears in only one Holmes short story and, while I thought the romantic development was cute, I was happy to see the intelligence of the character retained. Mark Strong (who I really can only place as the gentlemanly Mr. Knightley in the Kate Beckinsale version of Emma) does crazy aristocratic villains very well and was a good addition to the story in the form of Lord Blackwood.
My only real criticism of this movie is the actual plot. While there is an actual story arc (beginning-middle-end) in this movie, I really felt like it was a two-hour teaser for the next Sherlock Holmes movie. The introduction of the well-known Holmes nemesis/arch-villain Moriarty (which is no secret) makes it clear Ritchie always intended to make a follow-up to this movie. That serves to make the Blackwood plot in this movie secondary to the Moriarty introduction needed for the next movie. The movie is great fun to watch but I would have liked to see more closure with the Blackwood plot (i.e. the hangers-on seem to be left out).
Preview goodies (and there were plenty):
1. Remember Me - New RPatz vehicle with Emilie de Ravin; jury's still out on whether or not I care much about this one until I see Little Ashes (releasing on DVD this month)
2. The Sorcerer's Apprentice - I have no desire to watch some awful Nicholas Cage vehicle make a mockery of Goethe's poem (Der Zauberlehrling) with some kooked-up "I'm going to teach you how to use your powers for good" modern garbage interpolated; also, Nicholas Cage looks pretty much the same as he does in every other movie he makes these days, i.e. he looks stupid
3. From Paris With Love - Cue-ball-bald John Travolta as a shoot-'em-up CIA agent with Jonathan Rhys Myers playing baby-sitter...are you kidding? Just...no.
4. Robin Hood - Something tells me this Robin Hood will speak with an English accent (hahahahahaha), but, seriously, I think this looks to be a good time; plus there's Cate Blanchett and Matthew MacFadyen
5. Inception - Leonardo di Caprio kinda leaves me cold, however, this looks to be a really good psycholocial concept with some IMAX effects
6. Clash of the Titans - Can you say AWESOME??!??!!? I love the 1981 version but I really want to see what it looks like with the CGI effects we have these days (bonus: Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes, and all sorts of other cool people)
I arrived in the middle of Remember Me so I'm hoping it was the first one, otherwise I missed a preview for Iron Man II (which I was told was running in front of Sherlock Holmes - which makes sense with Robert Downey, Jr., playing the title character of each).
*Edit: I saw this again with a good friend because we were both bored....and there was NOTHING else at the movie theatre we wanted to watch. It was a second viewing for both of us and this one definitely has re-watchability appeal; it was still a lot of fun to watch.