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A Holiday Action Thrill Ride
After careful examination of the film's plot structure, acting performance, and tone; I can safely deduce that "Sherlock Holmes" is one of the best films of year. Based off the classic series of novels by Arthur Conan Doyle, this film displays Sherlock Holmes in a slightly different light. Normally, portrayed as an educated scholar type, this movie shows Holmes not only solving crimes with his powers of deduction, but it shows him in a more of a gritty realistic yet humorous way, but isn't afraid to mix it up physically if he has to. When Guy Ritchie originally announced this was going to be the most action packed Holmes movie ever made, I thought they would sacrifice too much story content in favor of action, as most directors tend to do when they say things like that. However, that's clearly not the case, as "Sherlock Holmes" not only uses a lot of action sequences, but it also blends in quite well with a captivating story arc. Starring Robert Downey Jr. (Sherlock Holmes), Jude Law (Dr. John Watson), Rachel McAdams (Irene Adler), and Mark Strong (Lord Blackwood). This film fails to disappoint. Truly one of the must see films of the year.
The movie is essentially about Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson completing their last mystery together, as they capture Lord Blackwood. Apparently, for years, he's been sacrificing many innocent civilians for his dark magical experiments. Scheduled to be hanged soon, Blackwood requests the presence of Sherlock before he dies, in which he warns him of coming events. Naturally, Holmes dismisses Blackwood's petty warning, at first. Later being hanged and analyzed by Dr. Watson, as he's officially declared dead. It's from here, Watson decides to leave Holmes, so he can marry his fiance Mary Morstan (Kelly Reillly). However, all is not what it seems, as Lord Blackwood has risen beyond the grave to not only seek revenge against Holmes, but to take over England using his dark wizardry. To make matters even more interesting, Holmes love interest/adversary, Irene Adler, comes back into his life to toy with his emotions, as another adversary tries to destroy him. Forced to operate outside the law, as Blackwood gains considerable control over the London police and Members of Parliament. Needless to say, Watson and Holmes decide to join forces once again take on this new menacing mystery, that may be too complex for even Holmes to solve.
Robert Downey Jr. was great in this role as he not only brought a sense of gritty realism to the character, he also gave the character a sense of humor as well. Allowing for the audience to deeply relate to his character, as Holmes is portrayed as a workaholic except when he's around Irene. This works nicely as Holmes isn't portrayed as the gentlemanly scholar that many film adaptations perceived in the past. In fact, this gritty sense of realism makes this interpretation of the character that much more unique. As not all of Holmes theories are correct at the beginning of the film, so he's forced to re-examine his points of the views when he has to operate outside the law. As Lord Blackwood put it, "You must widen your gaze. You underestimate the depravity of coming events." Robert's comedic wit as Holmes was subtle and pretty funny whenever Sherlock and Watson would bicker like brothers over little mediocre details. Even the scenes when Holmes experiments on their dog or tries to invent a silencer will make anyone laugh.
Plus, Jude Law's interpretation of Watson wasn't that bad either. Unlike the previous incarnations where Watson is usually the would be sidekick to Holmes, this one takes a new direction with the character. As he's not Holmes mere sidekick, but his equal if anything else. Dr. Watson medical expertise serves as a great asset to Holmes, during their cases. Although, the two often have a love/hate kind of relationship as they constantly squabble over things. Watson feeling that Holmes always drags him into these dangerous situations, but secretly wants to join him in these adventures. Which makes the film that much more humorous when they do bicker with one another.
Rachel McAdams and Mark Strong played their parts out as well. As Rachel was able to pull off the seductively charming harlet whom steals Holmes heart, quite nicely. Mark Strong, who although doesn't say much in the film, provides a strong sinister presence that adds an element of danger to the film.
The tone of the movie was pretty good, as I felt Guy Ritchie does an excellent job balancing out the humor, violence and drama within the movie. Thus, allowing the audience to be entrenched into the film's story, while making it fun at the same time. The script wasn't that bad either to say the least.
Entrenched with so many plot twists, that the viewer is constantly left at the edge of their seats. As one bizarre plot twist leads to another. Although the story is predictable, to where the viewer will know how the story will turn out. However, like "Sunset Boulevard" where everyone knows how it ended, but what the audience is unaware of is how do they get there. That reason in itself keeps the audience constantly guessing as to how will Holmes and Watson solve the case this time. Plus, the dialogue was tastefully done as it implements just the right touch of humor and drama.
"Sherlock Holmes" is definitely one of the best action/mystery films of the year. Featuring strong performances and a great story arc that will deeply enrich anyone who watches it.