Sherlock Holmes

Rated PG-13 (MPAA) 134 min. 2009

The lure of a different kind of blockbuster, with intellectual gameplay and fast wit, is discarded by Guy Ritchie's Sherlock Holmes. It fits the exact mould of a prefab blockbuster. Ritchie portrays Victorian London with a grey and brown emphasis on dust and dirt. But it's only set dressing. The movie's too frantic in its edits to establish a sinister tone, and its spirit is too gung-ho violent to transcend its role as a merchandise and sequel generator. Filling the roles of Detective Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law provide a 19th century spin on modern comedy bromances. But the film has few revelatory moments where the audience is in sync with them fitting puzzle pieces. Holmes' terrified duel with a burly thug (Robert Maillet) is Ritchie's spirited encore of the great foot chase in Rocknrolla. And a bit where his problem solving skills face the time limit of Rachel McAdams' Irene Adler meeting her fate on a pork-splitter round out the memorable action beats. These highlights make Sherlock Holmes an acceptable seasonal replacement for Wolverine and 2012. Without a sharp edge or eerie backbone, it's another event movie with a built-in expiration date. –Mark Palermo

Film Credits

Official Site: sherlock-holmes-movie.warnerbros.com

Director: Guy Ritchie

Writer: Lionel Wigram and Arthur Conan Doyle

Producer: Susan Downey, Dan Lin, Joel Silver and Lionel Wigram

Cast: Robert Downey Jr., Jude Law, Rachel McAdams, Mark Strong, Eddie Marsan, Kelly Reilly and William Hope

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