This hyper-kinetic rush of exuberance is a typical Guy-Ritchie product, with enough bamboozle (and slow-to-fast motion action) to masquerade the film into a distant cousin of the Sherlock Holmes mythology. However, upon closer inspection, one does observe links to Arthur Conan Doyle's original character Holmes's bohemian lifestyle, a general lack of tidiness, eccentric behavior, stabbing deduction skills and his bare-knuckled fighting ability. These basic building-blocks are at times molded into relatable material for the viewers; the casualty being the simplicity of his detective work and the staggering schemes of his villains.
With his hair as awry as his chaotic eccentricity Robert Downey Jr's Holmes is in a state of consistent shipwreck. And he looks about ready to sucker-punch any bystander. Downey instantaneously fits into his custom-made mould, just like Jude Law, who becomes a sort of sagacious man-friend as Dr John Watson. There are times when both Law and Downey Jr look like a parody of Adam West's Batman and Robin — the purple vestured Dark Knight and the Boy Wonder in red-shorts. Here, one becomes a brawling detective, the other his man-wonder sidekick, in thick suits.
When they aren't troubleshooting, the two bicker like a weary couple. “Complain. I never complain,” says Watson in a street-side quarrel. “When do I complain about you practicing the violin at three in the morning?” he says. On the other hand, there is partiality at play in the form of Irene Adler (Rachel McAdams), the bad woman who once captivated Holmes. Irene, who parades on-and-off the set, easily slips-in as part of a threesome, between Holmes and Watson.
Yet, whatever her intentions are, Irene is a part of grander things, especially the sequel, which would introduce the arch-nemesis, Professor Moriarty. During this part however, Moriarty is secluded in shadows (and an unknown voice actor).
The villain today is Lord Henry Blackwood, played by the entrancing Mark Strong, who plans to take over the British Empire from his grave. Blackwood's dark and brooding essence seesaws Sherlock Holmes between science and the supernatural. The opening sequence itself has Holmes and Watson hurrying to stop a sacrificial offering to the dark arts by Blackwood. This to-and-fro swinging lands the film in a premeditated identity crisis. Even with all the bangs, the organ-damaging punches, this Sherlock Holmes moves like a roller-coaster ride. One moment it's happening all over the place; then it's over before you know it.
Released by Warner Bros, written by Michael Robert Johnson, Anthony Peckham and Simon Kinberg, Sherlock Holmes has been produced by Joel Silver and directed by Guy Ritchie. Sherlock Holmes is rated PG-13 for intense graphic violence and one adult situation concealed by a fluffy pillow.
Expect Holmes to rake in the big bucks. I predict an easy $300 million plus internationally, until the Denzel-Washington starrer Book of Eli released on January 15. For now, Sherlock Holmes's biggest challenge is Avatar.