12/30/09

Sherlock Holmes

holmes
There have been mixed feelings about Sherlock Holmes (2009) since the trailer showed it as an action film filled with explosions, hammers and shock sticks. On the one hand, this was our beloved character from Baker Street who was far more interested in intellectual pursuits than the cinematic stylings of Michael Bay. But I was hooked from the moment I saw who was playing the Great Detective: Robert Downey Jr. Not just because I have publicly admitted to having a man-crush on him, but because he has the perfect type of sharp, dead-pan wit to match up with British sensibilities. Although he plays it more boisterous and American in Iron Man, I saw the potential. I knew he would be the Holmes I've always wanted to see. And I was right. Robert Downey Jr. plays a Sherlock Holmes that is not only brilliant, but hilarious and completely British


To start, I had only one grievance with the film: I couldn't hear Sherlock some of the time. As a consequence of learning the British way of speaking I suppose Robert was forced to bring down the volume of his voice to just above a whisper. I didn't mind, however, because the visual direction was so good that I could tell what was going on in the scene without even needing to hear the dialog.

Other than that, the movie takes the dizzying intellect of the mind-bogglingly brilliant detective we all know and love and throws it into an incredibly engaging story that excites not just the mind, but also the eyes. Yes, there were explosions, but they were not at all random. They were devices of Lord Blackwood that would be solved by Holmes later. They were attempts on Sherlock's life and successful attempts on other characters. The only problem anyone should ever have with action and explosions is when they don't fit the story, and here they were woven in perfectly. Because not only were they part of the mystery to be solved, they served as excellent set-ups for laughs and deep character moments.

The idea here is to take Sherlock Homes and put his brain to the test by giving him a ticking time bomb. Several ticking time bombs, in fact. As a matter of fact, every one of the action sequences in this movie have to do with Sherlock figuring something out before something explodes or gets sliced or beaten to death. Which works very well. It gives the action a purpose and doesn't make it feel cheap.

This was just all-around an excellent movie. I walked out of the theater with a smile on my face and a bounce in my step. There's just something about the combination of intellect, humor, science and action that makes my geek-self bubble up inside. Sherlock Holmes is a WIN. And don't let anyone else tell you otherwise.

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