Sherlock Holmes: A Mystery Not Worth Investigating
by May Chan
Opening on Christmas Day, Sherlock Holmes leaves one to wonder, “Robert Downey Jr. as Sherlock? Really?” As much I adore the actor and his cynical humor in films, the whole time I almost expected the detective to transform into Iron Man at any moment.
The movie, directed by Guy Ritchie, introduces Sherlock Holmes with his partner Dr. John Watson (Jude Law), just as they are in the middle of capturing Lord Blackwood (Mark Strong), a murderer who practices black magic.
Early on the film, Lord Blackwood presumably meets his demise with a trial and execution.
Should Holmes and Watson call the case a success? Not so fast, boys.
Lord Blackwood mysteriously returns, leaving a trail of killings for the sleuths to find. And as the duo banter with one another about Watson’s fiancé and their differences, they have to put it all aside to save England from this criminal sorcerer.
Adding to the mystery, Irene Adler (Rachel McAdams) enters into the picture catching the interest of Holmes. But appearances are deceiving as Irene demonstrates: she, too, can outwit the detective in the middle of solving a mystery.
Although each cast member gives a solid performance, Sherlock Holmes is not superb. With more than one screenwriter handling the story and modernizing the plot, along with shaping the characters’ back-story, the tradition of what Sir Arthur Conan Doyle had originally created is somewhat lost in the big screen.
Before anyone starts chiming in that Robert Downey Jr. deserves the Golden Globe nomination, I concur. Should he win? That is debatable.
As for Jude Law’s part as Watson, the character was written too much into the film as a bromantic (yes, I’m coining that adjective) relationship with Holmes. Keep Watson as a supporting character and cut some of the Harold and Kumar chumminess.
Of course the film could not be long enough, so the screenwriters had to develop another story line with Irene Adler, Even though Rachel McAdams fits in nicely with the all-male cast, her adventuress role barely hinges off of the mystery.
Noticeable throughout the movie is the music score that aptly works into each scene set in 1880s London. However, if the music stands out more than the script, what does that say about Sherlock Holmes?
Watch the film if you are a Robert Downey Jr. fan; otherwise, check it out when it comes out on DVD. The film, honestly, has no particular moments or quotes that stand out as water cooler topics, so audiences are not missing much if they do not see it right away.