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STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
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Tragic 1 Star

POSTER ART
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FILM DETAILS
Certificate
12A
Cast
Robert Downey Jr.
Rachel McAdams
Jude Law
Mark Strong
Eddie Marsan
Kelly Reilly.
Directors
Guy Ritchie.
Screenwriters
Michael Robert Johnson
Anthony Peckham
Simon Kinberg.
Running Time
128 minutes

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Sherlock Holmes
Elementary, my dear Robert Downey Jr.


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Plot
Sherlock Holmes (Downey Jr) and his loyal partner in crime-busting, Dr Watson (Law), find themselves up against the sinister Lord Blackwood (Strong) and his evil, apparently supernatural, plans. It's a situation complicated by the arrival of Holmes' ex-amour, the untrustworthy and dangerous Irene Adler (McAdams)...


Review
Sherlock Holmes
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So, nobody knows anything. And nobody could have predicted that the star dominating the new century’s blockbuster entertainment would be Robert Downey Jr. His name was once a byword for squandered ability. Now, it means action, laughs, capers, fun. The details of his comeback have been long-detailed, and Jon Favreau deserves the credit for seeing this mercurial talent could be harnessed in a wham-bam family tentpole even as he approached middle age. But still, it’s quite another leap to imagine the rat-tat-tat, verbally diarrhoetic New Yorker as Arthur Conan Doyle’s classic deducer. Kudos too, then, to Guy Ritchie, who imagined him in the (metaphorical) Deerstalker – it proves an idea as ingenious as one England’s greatest detective may well himself have cooked up. To see him as Sherlock Holmes now feels natural, inevitable... Elementary, even.

And what have Ritchie and Downey Jr, these unlikely compadres, set in motion? Well, for all their talk pre-release of Butch and Sundance and Raiders, the more accurate summation is that the movie Sherlock Holmes most immediately echoes is Bryan Singer's first foray into the world of the X-Men.

There is, undoubtedly, much to love in the Redford/Newman dynamic so lovingly, endearingly aped by Downey Jr and Law as Holmes and Watson respectively. Their incessant bickering, their clear love for one another, their escapades with various ladyfolk (who sometimes appear to exist to make it clear to the Middle-American masses that they’re not, y’know, gay or anything) and the numerous scrapes and scuffles they seem inherently predisposed to… It’s a relationship that’s both massively entertaining and convincing, and even survives the occasional bits featuring a farty comedy dog.

The action, meanwhile, though not on a par with the escapades of Indy, largely delivers, from a immediate, Raiders-style pre-credits chase in which our heroes first meet their dastardly nemesis Lord Blackwood, through Holmes’ bare-chested sparring in the local fleapits (the most typically Ritchie element of the movie) and to a climactic second-act showdown on the docks, all slo-mo explosions and high drama.

Ultimately, though, as with Singer's reintroduction of a new generation of long-established characters, this first visit to Baker Street is more successful as a set-up to its sequels than an entirely satisfying story on its own terms. Just as Singer, freed from his origin-story constraints, really flew in X-Men 2, so too should Ritchie come Sherlock's return – delivering on the tantalising promise of a Holmes vs Moriarty face-off hinted at here almost to the point of pricktease and, crucially, taking his heroes on a more globetrotting mission.

Thankfully, frustrating though it sometimes is to never leave it (oh for a colourful waterfall face-off!), Ritchie’s period London is a sexy, murky and mucky variation on the capital he’s always called home. Desaturated and seductive, it’s a brilliantly realised environment rich with possibility and loaded with landmarks for our heroes to lark about on, right up to a terrific climax on a half-built Tower Bridge.

The support cast have mixed results. Mark Strong is as reliably redoubtable as ever as the evil Lord Blackwood and the always brilliant Eddie Marsan is a great target for gags as a bumbling copper. A very game Rachel McAdams, though, as the duplicitous but charming Irene Adler, is fatally edited down to the point that not only does all the prancing about in her pants of the trailer not make the final cut, but her backstory, this mysterious previous relationship with Holmes that could have provided such intrigue and allure, is merely hinted at, discarded presumably in the pursuit of a running time not up there with The Return Of The King. The Director’s Cut.

Given the smarts of its eponymous hero, not to mention the usual breakneck pacing of its director, it’s ironic how plodding the plot can sometimes feel. When he’s directing something he’s written, Ritchie can sometimes go too far the other way, juggling so many subplots it’s hard to keep up. Here, however, the narrative is simply too simplistic, a story that will hardly need much in the way of detective skills to figure out.

Still, the real relationship here is between Holmes and Watson, and it’s here this Sherlock really finds its home: as a lightweight, capricious buddy picture. Each new Jude Law movie may appear to be an excuse for the tabloids to give him a kicking, but this time it’s him dishing out the beating. A very smart choice for him, playing second fiddle as opposed to main event, Sherlock gives you the chance to again appreciate his real screen skills. He delivers charm, vim and matinee idol verve, making for a more muscular Watson than previous incarnations and providing a welcome straight-man and plain speaker when Holmes’ eccentricities occasionally become too much. Here’s looking forward to seeing him and Downey Jr embark on a more exotic adventure next time out.


Verdict
A fun, action-packed reintroduction to Conan Doyle's classic characters. Part Two should provide more in the way of scope.


Reviewed by William Thomas


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Average user rating for Sherlock Holmes
Empire Star Rating

Sherlock Holmes

Guy Ritchie.has achieved everything that is possible in this kind of genre considering he has never watched any of the other Sherlock films. Stunning effects and scenary, suspense,understanding the knowledge of Sherlock and Watson, plenty of humour and a great storyline. What is there not to love about this film! Robert Downey Jr and Jude Law are perfect together as the crime solving team always bouncing ideas off each other with brilliant comical moments and actions. Well worth watching with th... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by deppfanatic at 18:52, 31 December 2011 | Report This Post


Sherlock Holmes

Guy Ritchie.has achieved everything that is possible in this kind of genre considering he has never watched any of the other Sherlock films. Stunning effects and scenary, suspense,understanding the knowledge of Sherlock and Watson, plenty of humour and a great storyline. What is there not to love about this film! Robert Downey Jr and Jude Law are perfect together as the crime solving team always bouncing ideas off each other with brilliant comical moments and actions. Well worth watching with th... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by deppfanatic at 18:52, 31 December 2011 | Report This Post


sherlock

can't wait for the sequel. :) ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by antosh25 at 04:58, 05 December 2011 | Report This Post


Nom.

Robert Downey Jr, such a babe (: I wouldn't kick him out of bed for farting ;) ... More

Posted by DarbyDaresYou at 09:49, 23 September 2011 | Report This Post


Excellent

Robert Downey Jr, such a babe (: Jude Law, meh, he'll do ;) ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by DarbyDaresYou at 09:48, 23 September 2011 | Report This Post


Excellent

... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by nickstuart118 at 20:28, 17 January 2011 | Report This Post


Bromance, Conan Doyle Style

This is brilliant. I really, really enjoyed this film, despite my misgivings when I found out that Ritchie was directing, However, after I saw RocknRolla, I was convinced that he was bringing his 'A' game back and Sherlock produced the goods and helped rid the director's demons (Swept Away being the main one). Downey Jr is thirlling as the titular detective, showing verve in his speech and many flourishes of Holmesian genius that one expects when they have read the novels. The inclusion of Law a... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Boromirs Redemption at 16:04, 10 January 2011 | Report This Post


Dire Bollockal

When will Guy Ritchie ever make a watchable movie? The media hype of his dreadful low budget hit Cockerknee Sweaingr and Two Silly Punchlines gave this man way too much exposure. As talented as Messers Downey Jr, Law, Strong and Marsden are they certainly are not in the hands of a very cinema-worthy director. Even that near geriatric headline seeking hound Madasahatter dumped this man once his fifteen minutes were up, so why do the cinema going publuc have to suffer him? ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by C K Dexter Haven at 11:51, 09 January 2011 | Report This Post


Dire Bollockal

When will Guy Ritchie ever make a watchable movie? The media hype of his dreadful low budget hit Cockerknee Sweaingr and Two Silly Punchlines gave this man way too much exposure. As talented as Messers Downey Jr, Law, Strong and Marsden are they certainly are not in the hands of a very cinema-worthy director. Even that near geriatric headline seeking hound Madasahatter dumped this man once his fifteen minutes were up, so why do the cinema going publuc have to suffer him? ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by C K Dexter Haven at 11:51, 09 January 2011 | Report This Post


Excellent. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by reminn at 11:19, 20 December 2010 | Report This Post


RE: Sherlock Holmes

A brilliant portrayal of Guy Ritchies interpretation of Sherlock Holmes by Robert Downey Jr. This incarnation of Sherlock Holmes has the right blend of action, humour & intrigue along with strong characters set in the midst of 19th century London. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Jeevan Singh at 18:26, 04 December 2010 | Report This Post


District 9

D9 should have been 5 stars ... More

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Posted by bigbadpoo at 12:45, 18 August 2010 | Report This Post


Why so harsh?

Here is my problem with critics nowadays, all films have to be So intelligent and visually stunning, yet they can't enjoy films for what they are, fun. The guardian is the worst with this. Now, today I'm going to see the a team at the cinema. Hope you don't have a problem with it, because I'm not watching inception or other such stuff. Sherlock holmes was super duper fun stuff. Robert Downey jr used a good accent, and lord of the rings is too serious, so are all the things people give 10 star re... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by bigbadpoo at 12:44, 18 August 2010 | Report This Post


Why so harsh?

Here is my problem with critics nowadays, all films have to be So intelligent and visually stunning, yet they can't enjoy films for what they are, fun. The guardian is the worst with this. Now, today I'm going to see the a team at the cinema. Hope you don't have a problem with it, because I'm not watching inception or other such stuff. Sherlock holmes was super duper fun stuff. Robert Downey jr used a good accent, and lord of the rings is too serious, so are all the things people give 10 star re... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by bigbadpoo at 12:41, 18 August 2010 | Report This Post


RE: Sherlock Holmes

Very entertaining movie. It's a well paced and well told story. The story itself being a bit rediculous but that hardly matters here. Downey is great (I had no problems with his mumbling accent), as is Law. People complaining this has nothing to do with the "real" character of Holmes should read the books again. It actually comes pretty close. What Ritchie did was bringing it up to 20th century standards. There's a lot of "convenient" plotting, like Holmes smelling, sensing and interpretti... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by BobM70 at 11:54, 01 August 2010 | Report This Post


RE: Sherlock Holmes

I liked this, it maybe dragged a little bit in the middle and some of the layout of London was skewiff to say the least but overall I thought it was a fun, enjoyable watch, Downey and Law had an excellent chemistry, and Richie managed to tie things up at the end without too much exposition while still leaving things open for the sequel. ... More

Posted by Indio at 14:13, 24 July 2010 | Report This Post


RE: Sherlock Holmes

Downey needs a day job after this. Some things worked in the Sherlock Holmes film. Sherlock Holmes is mostly about the atmosphere of turn of the centruy London, and this captured a little of that in a few scenes, but not quite as well as we would want on the audience side for our entertainment. Watson was an improvement, much truer to Doyle, and his character worked well. So did the giant and the bad girl. The other characters were lame, particularly in comparison to the ones that work... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by drystyx at 15:55, 18 July 2010 | Report This Post


Sherlock Holmes

Rpbert Downey Jr. is a great and funny actor and he gives his own spin to Sherlock Holmes. Jude Law, the person who cast him is Brilliant. Jude Law is an awesome actor and is really funny to. The way they made London look is just great. It turned out to be a great movie and I totally love it. The action, the jokes, the background and the actors it all works out. I would recommend it to my friends. Some people don't like this film but that is there own taste. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by EmilyCarmen at 15:39, 27 June 2010 | Report This Post


Why only three stars

My favourite film of 2009. Way better than I thought it was going to be. Whod have thought Robert Downey JR. would have made such a great Sherlock Holmes. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by JackS1351 at 16:10, 23 June 2010 | Report This Post


RE: This movie stunk like rotten meat

Jolly, good fun! That is all.  ... More

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Posted by clownfoot at 13:19, 04 June 2010 | Report This Post


RE: This movie stunk like rotten meat

I finally got around to watching this. It was ok, the problem for me was it dragged a bit in my opinion. Although the last act was very good!! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by The REAL Bozz at 19:41, 02 June 2010 | Report This Post


RE: This movie stunk like rotten meat

L: mojo88 I tried to watch this movie, but could only get halfway through it before I hit 'eject' and took it back to the Redbox machine. Thank goodness I only wasted $1 renting it. Graphics and audio were good, but the storyline was just too dang stupid and overblown to bear. Inane, senseless action was thrown in to try and save it. Awful, awful, awful....... f it was only the plot that was annoying you than i'm presuming it was the supernatural nature in which case you really shoul... More

Posted by musht at 14:14, 02 June 2010 | Report This Post


Sherlock Holmes

Really enjoyed this. Great fun. Would gladly recommend this to anyone. For the comparisons to X-Men, I'd say it's a better film in its own right than X-Men, but I would agree that I hope for a better film in part 2. In that respect, I'd suggest that as an origins film this is on a par with Batman Begins. I'd hope the sequel delivers in the same way as that franchise did! ... More

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Posted by jncorbett at 23:32, 30 May 2010 | Report This Post


RE: RE:

I agree-doesn't feel like a Ritchie film-and i mean that in a good way! This is an example of a "fun" movie-just enjoy the bloddy thing(but the accents are better than Robin Hood!). 4 stars. ... More

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Posted by BOHEMIANBOB at 00:18, 27 May 2010 | Report This Post


RE: RE:

Took me ages to find this thread!   I'm pleasantly suprised, in fact if it weren't for the slow-mo fight scenes I'd forget Guy Ritchie directed this. Robert Downey Jnr looks like he's having fun in this and it shows, I never had any qualms about the accent or the level of his acting as I've seen Chaplin - his cockney accent was very good in it - he might mumble a bit in this but I thought he fit rather nicely as the super sleuth. Victorian London really looks quite swish - Ah the powe... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Sphinx at 20:56, 26 May 2010 | Report This Post


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