Honestly, I’ve never read the Conan Doyle books. So if you’re looking for an analysis whether the adaptation stays true to the source material or not, you’re looking at the wrong place. I am however, a Robert Downey Jr. and Guy Ritchie fan, so my expectations for this movie were quite high.
Although it’s good in many levels, it never truly rises above a one-note comedy routine with a mystery at its center. I admit that it’s fun as a theatrical release and sets itself up well for franchise potential. However, it seems that the plot is failing in its attempt to launch a franchise.
How to Stream or Download Sherlock Holmes (2009 film)
To stream or to download the film, click on the Download button located at the end of the review. Check out also the 2011 sequel to the movie – Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows.
The Movie Review
In London, Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson believe they have captured one of city’s deadliest serial killers, Lord Blackwood. A few months later, Blackwood is sentenced to death by hanging, but rumors remain that he is still alive, having used the dark arts to hide from society.
As they uncover his remains, they discover that a different corpse is lying in his casket. The rumor that Blackwood has resurrected from the dead quickly spread around London, and many believe he is the devil incarnate. Holmes and Watson, with the help of Irene Adler, must stop Blackwood from carrying out his big plan: the capture of the British government and, eventually, taking over the entire world.
Director Guy Ritchie is responsible for films like Snatch and Lock, Stock, and Two Barrels and the Disney live-action version of Aladdin. It goes without saying that Ritchie has a distinct flair for dramatic storytelling that he employs in several of his directorial efforts. It’s difficult to put into words, but if you’ve watched any of his films, you’ll get what I mean.
The film’s general likability and cinematic narrative of comedy and danger benefit from Ritchie’s reimagining of Sherlock Holmes, which retains one foot in the past while the other moving in a new path.
What I like about the film is that the set design is gorgeous. Instead of glamorizing a Victorian-era London, the color palette stays muted throughout, giving it a realistic sense of dirt and grime. Combined with the costumes, the visual effects, and the cinematography – it’s a good looking movie with a great vintage aesthetic. In addition to that is Hans Zimmer’s score, which is excellent.
Zimmer’s soundtrack for Doyle’s detective film adaptation isn’t his greatest, but it does stay in line with Guy Ritchie’s vision for the author’s legendary work.
The performances done by the cast definitely helped in bringing the story to life, Robert Downey Jr. put a fun twist on the iconic lead character Sherlock Holmes, but also retains his intellect as a detective. The actors beside him, Jude Law as companion John Watson and Rachel McAdams as Irene Adler were amazing as well.
However, my main issue with the film was that it was overcomplicated and dragged, especially on the second act. It was getting off track at some points, and it felt like Ritchie was veering a little too much from what the creators intended.
Yes, there’s plenty of amusing banter, clever quips, and Victorian-style peril throughout, but the storyline becomes a little tangled in the mystery surrounding Lord Blackwood’s homecoming, as well as a lot more sidetracked in some of the smaller plot lines that the film tries to tackle. The ultimate product seemed to be a little ambitious for something that didn’t need to be as long as it was.
The Bottom Line
In conclusion, Sherlock Holmes is an entertaining detective film, all thanks to Guy Ritchie’s directing, action scenes, visual work, and the great chemistry of the cast. This is a film adaption that shouldn’t be taken seriously but is still worth seeing, and I’d say it’s certainly among Ritchie’s best movies.