When I first heard that a Sherlock Holmes movie was being made staring Robert Downey Jr. as Holmes and Jude Law as Watson, I cringed. I'm a fan of both as actors, but they didn't match my memory of the nerdy, British detective and his rolly-polly, doctor sidekick that I had as a kid reading the stories. There's a good reason for that though; this isn't your Grandmother's Sherlock Holmes. Director Guy Ritchie, has had quite a few stumbles over the past recent years and I don't just mean his divorce to that awful mummy, Madonna. He started his film career off with two of the best British caper movies of all time, Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrells and Snatch. Then he had failure after failure. He seemed to be nothing more than another Orson Welles that hit his best at the very beginning and had nothing left to give. I guess he does in the writing department but his directing is superb in this reimaging of the classic Sherlock Holmes stories. The sets are amazing and Ritchie shoots for authenticity with the props and set decorations while colliding it with his aggressive and stylized directing arsenal that comes complete with ultra-slow motion, choppy editing, and montages of things in the past or future. But that mix of classic and modern might be too much of a clash for some people. But if you can get past that you'll be thrilled with Downey Jr. and Law giving great performances as crime fighters and comedians. By giving the mystery duo the ability to kick anyone's ass and deliver one-liners while doing it, Ritchie basically made a Period/Buddy Cop movie. That's not a bad thing in my opinion, but I know some members of the party I was with when I saw it thought it was cheesy. The mystery that drives the plot is great and classic Holmes, but the who-dun-it feature wasn't there, unless you count the set-up for a sequel that comes as no shock to anyone who knows even the slightest bit of information about the books. The only problem with the movie is that it feels clunky and awkward at the beginning. Guy Ritchie's movies can never be accused of being slow, but the first third of the film feels that way because of some form of unstiching in the editing or script or perhaps in the audience's ability to adjust to seeing a tone that's very different than what they thought they'd see. But besides that, Sherlock Holmes is a fun Buddy-Cop movie in the same tone of Bad Boys or Lethal Weapon set in the world of A Christmas Carol.
Sherlock Holmes (Rated PG-13)
Gavin Grade: B+