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4.2 out of 5 stars
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4.2 out of 5 stars
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Like everyone else in the world, I instantly went cross-eyed at the idea of Guy Ritchie making a Sherlock Holmes movie.

Sure enough, this is not your dad's Sherlock. Or your grandpa's either. "Sherlock Holmes" is a thoroughly eccentric take on the legendary detective -- energetic, action-packed and clever, with more than a hint of steampunk and black magic. It gets kind of silly at times, but Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law keep the story going strong.

As the story opens, a young woman is about to be sacrificed in a black magic ritual by the evil Lord Blackwood (Mark Strong). However, Sherlock Holmes (Downey) and Watson (Law) thwart him just in time for the police to arrive. Three months later, Blackwood is executed -- but not before he tells Holmes that three more people will die, and the world will change.

But then his tomb is broken open... from the inside. And at the same time, Irene Adler (Rachel McAdams) tries to hire Holmes to track down a man who is then found dead in Blackwood's tomb. As Holmes tries to unravel this case, he discovers the existence of a strange upper-crust magical cult, who are slowly being killed off by Blackwood's mysterious powers. Has Sherlock Holmes run up against supernatural forces he cannot explain or fight?

This is not an adaptation of one of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's stories -- this is more a movie that takes the IDEA of Sherlock Holmes and applies it to a big, bombastic, quirky action movie. Ritchie directs the movie with a sharp, kinetic style, and he keeps things from getting too stuffy with lots of fight scenes (including Holmes mapping out every fight in his head before throwing a punch).

His steampunky vision of London has a lot of dark, dripping corners, and Ritchie happily trots Sherlock and Watson down into them -- river boats, Parliament's basement, and grimy rituals down in some catacombs. The movie's biggest problem is that the action sometimes gets silly, such as the massive fight at the shipyard in which Holmes and Watson almost get run over by a ship.

But he balances out all the action with plenty of funny moments (Holmes repeatedly paralyzing poor Gladstone) and witty dialogue ("No girl wants to marry a doctor who can't tell if a man's dead or not!"). This is definitely a movie that loves Holmes at his most eccentric.

The main reason this works so well is because of Downey. He is probably one of the best actors of our age, and he gives Sherlock a bright-eyed, quirky, almost manic energy, as well as a touch of Asperger's (he literally CANNOT understand why Watson would want to get married and retire from crimefighting). You can truly believe that this guy has a brain like a supercomputer.

Law also gives an excellent performance as a young, vital Watson who seems to have a love-hate relationship with Holmes -- they're best friends, but Holmes' eccentricities are driving him nuts. Rachel McAdams gives a solid performance as Holmes' lady thief ex-girlfriend, and Mark Strong is wonderfully, sonorously sinister as the villain, who may or may not be a sorcerer.

"Sherlock Holmes" isn't actually based on any Sherlock Holmes stories, but Guy Ritchie's sharp-edged direction and Downey's quirky performance make it a fun experience. Just try to swallow the sillier action scenes.
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on 11 June 2010
After watching the trailer for Sherlock Holmes I expected to hate this film. The trailer does not do this film justice at all - it just makes the film come across as trashy and a bit stupid. However, I saw this at the cinema and was completely bowled over! In short it was brilliant. I agree with another reviewer who states that this film suffers when viewed on DVD as you really needed to see it on the big screen to fully appreciate the SFX and the soundtrack doesn't have the same impact when listened to through TV speakers.

I think I was put off the film because the trailer showed a Sherlock Holmes that seemed intolerable. Thanks to all the TV adaptations of Doyle I thought that Holmes (Downey Jr) should be portrayed as a dry, conservative, refined individual, the perfect gentleman. The trailer makes it seem as though the film is pandering to immature teenagers who want to see lots of fight scenes and bravado. Then I realised that I haven't read any Doyle so how did I know how the character is depicted in the books? Anyway Guy Ritchie is more than entitled to play around with the character of Holmes (Watson too) in the name of artistic licence. It seems to me that Ritchie has really provoked and surprised many people with what appears to be an unconventional interpretation of Sherlock Holmes which is good as it might encourage people to read some of the novels and it has shown that he can think outside of the gangster genre.

This film reminds me a bit of the Young Sherlock Holmes because they are both jolly good fun! That's what I love about this adaptation, it just grabs hold of you as soon as it starts and continues to thrill until the closing scene. The opening scene is first class in my opinion. The film just launches straight into the story, no time wasted. I suppose Ritchie's job was half done as soon as he began work on the film as everyone loves mysteries and he had one of the greatest characters in literature at his disposal.

The plot is of course a very clever one. Dastardly Lord Blackwood (Strong) is striking terror into the hearts of Londoners until he is brought to justice but even then he continues to haunt the city's imagination and gets up to all sorts even though he is sentenced to date with the rope. The intrigue revolves around Lord Blackwood but also around 3 seemingly unexplainable deaths that Holmes must get to the bottom of using his skills as a detective and his fists. There are also plenty of spooky things going on in the background that all ultimately link together. The story also deals with the Holmes/Watson (Law) relationship, the Watson/Mary Morstan (Reilly) relationship and the Holmes/Irene Adler (McAdams) relationship. It's all suitably complicated and engaging and magical.

I can't say I paid too much attention to Robert Downey Jr before seeing this but in this movie he really impresses and his English accent is good. He like the rest of the cast seemed to be having a whale of a time making this film, it really shows. He is funny and tough. His portrayal is very appealing. He brings sensitivity to Holmes and importantly he is convincing as a shockingly clever dick. The other cast members also do excellent jobs playing their respective roles. Jude Law seems like an odd choice for Watson and he is not shown to be bumbling or hapless. He is almost though not quite Holmes' equal. He is shown to be street smart, patriotic and a bit of gambler. I think he is outclassed by Robert Downey Jr all along but he is more than capable of being the straight man to Holmes with his wonderfully weird idiosyncrasies. Strong is masterful as a man devoted to evil, a right nasty piece of work with a lovely gravelly voice. McAdams and Reilly aren't really given enough screen time which is a shame as McAdams has a real spark about her and Reilly is a fine intense actress.

One of the biggest stars of this success is the soundtrack. It really gets your heart beating and the tunes stick in your mind. The music is inventive and fits the mood of the film well.

The effects/the sets/costumes are also great, none of it seems lame. It all looks, well, real!

The dialogue is a delight. I believe from a Ritchie interview I saw that every scene contains a line from the novels.

With this movie Ritchie has done much to restore his reputation as a filmmaker to be taken seriously. Sherlock Holmes is fresh and exciting. Oh and the denouement doesn't disappoint either.
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on 23 April 2010
An interesting take on Holmes and Watson, who are both men of action as well as detectives. This sits well with Watson's background as an ex-soldier and is preferable to the bumbling parodies we have seen of him in the older Holmes films. They take risks, look out for each other, and face genuine danger together - a real crime-fighting partnership. This is a good, atmospheric action-packed tale where Holmes is sharp as a knife when on the case, but bored to the point of despair when there's nothing for him to get his teeth into. Robert Downey and Jude Law are a smart pairing. The ever-present menace of the London underworld and the amateurism of a police force that has not yet embraced modern methods is finely judged. I was not entirely convinced by the "masonic" element, or the prizefighting, but it serves its purpose. This film is loads of fun and I recommend it.
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When I heard Guy Ritchie was directing a Sherlock Holmes film I nearly cried. Surely they could have found a decent director to helm the first (and perhaps only) big budget SH film? Like many other reviewers here Jeremy Brett performances remain absolutely definitive for me. Although (to avoid the inevitable comment) I am also a fan of Basil Rathbones performances. In fact on DVD I have more Rathbone than Brett.

Anyway to the film. Well I had to eat my hat, because the film is dam good. Robert Downey Jr is superb as Holmes. Its a different sort of Holmes from the Brett/Rathbone portrayal. Seemingly a little more street savy, but still with the razor sharp mind. Watson is perhaps even better. Its fast-paced, which for todays modern audience it needs to be. The terrible trailer for the film might have led you to believe that it was going to be full of explosions and the usual high-octane stuff that passes for an action film these days, but it seems Mr Ritchie has learnt a lot over the few years. There are still some of his trademark stop-motion tricks, but these seemed appropriate to the scenes they were in.

Criticisms:- frankly not many. A little too much obvious CGI. I have no problem with CGI, so long as I can't tell its there!

They have certainly left the way open to a 2nd film in the series, which I'm looking forward to. So overall, a really entertaining film, which even the most stubborn Brett/Rathbone fan should give a try.
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on 17 May 2010
Just a pointer to the amazing quality of the acting in Sherlock Holmes, when I first watched this I didn't realise that Holmes was played by an American (well done on a very convincing accent Downey Jr). I wish I could have seen it twice because this film is so full of banter, actions and beautifully pitched characters that you couldn't possibly catch everything on the first viewing.
Ok, so it's not the traditional image of the famous pair, but having now read the books I can see just how true this film is to the original stories. It jumps between action, the serious and the comedy and has something that everyone can enjoy. There are so many quotes from the books and Holmes and Watson's relationship is played out perfectly by Downey Jr and Law. It might not be your grandparent's idea of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson but it's a fresh view and it's certainly worth the watch, this new action-hero Holmes appealed to both me and my parents. What can I say? Roll on the next one!
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I am a great fan of the Conan Doyle stories. And for me, the epitome of Sherlock Holmes was the late Jeremy Brett in the classic 80s TV series. You might think then I'd deplore this reimagined Sherlock Holmes, which takes such liberties with the literary canon. But as it happened, I enjoyed it. And I will give my reasons why, principally to persuade over lovers of the original stories to give this film the benefit of the doubt and just take it for what it is.

These are some of the reasons however that purists might not like: the supernatural-inspired plot, the prominence of Irene Adler, almost making it a Holmes/Watson/Adler action trio, the allegedly homo-erotic undertones between Holmes and Watson. They seem to be departures from the standard representations of Holmes. We even see Holmes kiss Adler (albeit in the grip of a drugged stupor).

But none of these departures is taken too far. In fact, it would be an overstatement to describe any of these as true innovations. In a `Scandal in Bohemia' there is an allusion that Holmes is somewhat captivated by Irene Adler (although the film takes this hinted romantic interest between them and makes it much more explicit). The supposedly quasi-homosexual relationship between Holmes and Watson depicted in the film is nothing of the sort: they are more akin to two buddies, intensely bonded. This makes for some witty, rapid-fire exchanges between the two men. In the stories, Holmes does hint at the intensity of his attachment to Watson's friendship, though without making any overt displays or declarations (and Holmes doesn't do so in this film). But above all, the film does not depart from Holmes' rationalism. The supernatural has featured as a backdrop in stories like the 'Hound of the Baskervilles', only to be thoroughly debunked by Holmes. The same is true for this film. The fundamentals of the canon are respected. So the perception in some quarters that the film utterly overturns the classical tenets of Conan Doyle's stories is an exaggeration.

So what we are offered is an entertaining, action-adventure where Holmes' left-hook comes in as handy as his deductive powers. The film is frivolous and somewhat superficial but who cares? Downey Junior and Jude Law are well cast, and I found the reimagined character of Watson as a man of action rather refreshing. Aficionados of the stories will enjoy spotting the numerous references to the stories - lines of dialogue lifted directly from them and inserted into the script. The one thing I didn't particularly like was the addition of Irene Adler's character, which seemed to be included because film makers cannot seem to resist thinking that a hint of romantic interest adds to the film (it doesn't), and to offer a sop to modern political correctness.

Overall, I don't think the film has the makings of a classic but that doesn't matter. It's great Friday night entertainment. It doesn't beat the stories but again that is no bad thing. If the film inspires viewers to turn to the stories to compare and to contrast, then they will scarcely be disappointed.
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on 16 May 2015
After finally catching serial killer Lord Blackwood, legendary sleuth Sherlock Holmes and his assistant Dr. Watson close yet another successful case.

But when Blackwood mysteriously returns from the grave and resumes his killing spree, Holmes must take up the hunt once again.

Contending with his partner's new fiancée and the dimwitted head of Scotland Yard, the dauntless detective must unravel the clues that will lead him into a twisted web of murder, deceit, and black magic - and the deadly embrace of temptress Irene Adler...

Tony Stark travels back in time to take on the role of the eponymous sleuth, with decidedly mixed results. First off, it's not a bad film by any means, the chemistry between the leads is the best thing about it, and Downey Jr. is as good as always.

But this, being a Silver production, puts style before substance and story, and it shows a hell of a lot throughout. You would think that it's being directed by Ritchie, you would expect some witty banter, and while there is some signs of Ritchies earlier genius in the first act (Holmes explaining how he will defeat his opponent), it soon fades in favour of set-pieces.

It doesn't help that Silver goes back to his Lethal Weapon sequel days with the lack of involving narrative, but Downey Jr. and Law make it work.

some of it is fun, the fight with the massive 'European' is hilarious, and probably the high point of the film, but there are low points too, McAdams is wasted, and Holmes donning a disguise is more reminiscent of Sellers in the poorer Pink Panther movies, than a clever detective at work.

It's the type of movie that will only work when released at a holiday period (see: various OTT blockbusters), but one thinks that this may be just the set up of a potentially good franchise.

It's all good forgettable fun, just quickly forgettable, and the script could have been a bit sharper.
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on 29 January 2016
This was bought for me as I love the Sherlock Holmes canon. But, oh dear, clearly the screenwriters had done no research, The actors are faced, therefore, with the impossible task of making sense of a nonsensical script. If you enjoy, Sherlock, Elementary or the Jeremy Brett series, or indeed anything with a modicum of intelligence don't bother. If you're looking for Die Hard set in Victorian times (sort of) then this is for you.
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on 11 July 2016
I am not interested in the DVD’s content, only in whether it contains English subtitles for the deaf. A simple solution is to display the back of the DVD case where this information is shown. If you wish to help, please email Amazon asking for the rear of the DVD case to be displayed. Thank you.
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VINE VOICEon 24 March 2010
I went to see Sherlock Holmes with small expectations after a friend told me it was not very good, and ended up loving it!

Robert Downey Jr and Jude Law are perfect in their parts and have a great chemistry. The dialogue is witty and fun and I love how this film shows a different side to the famous characters.

At no point was I bored or confused about the storyline. The pace of the film was perfect and just the right length I think.

There is action, romance and even some of the supernatural in this film so it is never boring. I would say you should definitely get this dvd - I know I will be!
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