We walked into Sherlock Holmes with the baseline hope of being entertained, and we were not disappointed. Director Guy Ritchie has created a period/action/mystery film, starring Robert Downey Jr. as Holmes and Jude Law as Watson. We could not recall a single other Guy Ritchie film that we’ve actually watched all the way through, as we typically find ourselves overwhelmed by the style but underwhelmed by the story, however in this case the film delivers on both counts.
The story revolves around a plot to return England to her glory days as the Empire, including re-absorbing the United States, weakened by the Civil War. A secret society uses advanced (for the times) technologies in an attempt to give the appearance of supernatural powers, and to then rule by fear. In a parallel thread, Watson is engaged to be married and is in the process of moving out of 221B Baker Street, much to the dismay of Holmes, who conspires to delay the passing of their close partnership.
Holmes and Watson, of course, work together to uncover the plot and foil the plotters, and the film ends with an obvious setup of the sequel, which will, of course, include matching wits with the infamous Professor Moriarty.
The style is a mash-up of authentic-looking old London combined with modern slow-mo, blow-up, near-super-hero-ish sensibilities. This could have been a horrific combination, but Guy Ritchie keeps it all just enough in check so that things don’t spin into forehead-slapping territory.
Put it together and it was a solidly entertaining film, and I am looking forward to the sequel. It wasn’t great or classic cinema by any stretch of the imagination, but you’ll feel like you got your money’s worth, unlike with many (many, many) other big-budget, action-oriented movies.