Sherlock Holmes

Just a few months before Robert Downey Jr. entertains us all with Iron Man 2, he makes his appearance as the detective of detectives, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes. Will his debonair daring do justice to the classic character?

Note: No spoilers ahead

As one of England's most famous fictional icons, Sherlock Holmes is one personality that should not be destined for movie oblivion. We'll say this early, however, that fortunately, he's not. The movie excellently captures the very thing that the detective is famous for: his rational and analytical mind.

Robert Downey Jr.'s acting style and impeccable British accent were spot-on for Sherlock. His humorous, often unnecessarily condescending attitude towards everybody and everything provide many opportunities for comedy especially during scenes with Dr. John Watson (Jude Law).

Together, the two make a rather convincing "bromantic" couple. More than once during the movie, both Holmes and Watson hinted at being best buds and brothers in arms but surprisingly, without any homoerotic tendencies.

Unlike Holmes' mostly intellectual demeanor in Sir Arthur's books, the big-screen version showcased him as a sort of Renaissance man. Besides being bookish and street smart, Holmes is apparently quite the brawler as well.

Fight scenes are abundant from start to finish, and it shows Holmes and Watson beating up villains using a unique, gentlemanly fighting style. Rather than just punching and kicking everyone around, they used dignified weapons such as canes and coats in a very suave and dignified manner.

The film's main antagonist is Lord Blackwood (Mark Strong), a person of stature who is consumed with dark magic. As a newly introduced character, Blackwood fit well into the fictional world of Holmes. His exploits intrigue the great detective to the point where Holmes almost lost faith on reason.

Strong gives a strong performance bolstered only by his stern Dracula-ish appearance and trademark crooked Englishman teeth.

The movie's plot is engaging from start to finish and follows the conventional method of story-telling. You start with a proper build-up, followed by small conflicts, then elevate to a rushing climax, until finally slowing down to enlightening conclusions. A cliffhanger awaits at the end, one which assures that there will be a Sherlock Holmes 2.

Sex and women do not play a major role in Sherlock Holmes unlike in the James Bond series. Nonetheless, Holmes' love interest Irene Adler (Rachel McAdams) – the only woman to have ever bested him – and Dr. Watson's fiancée Mary Morstan (Kelly Reilly) showed that despite the duo's bond, they still have a soft spot for the fairer sex.

As with many mystery-novel adaptations, Sherlock Holmes cannot fully imitate the feel of the book. Explanations of how he came about with his conclusions tend to be wordy and lengthy. If you have attention-deficit disorder or find it hard to understand the British accent, you may find yourself asking the person next to you what the hell just happened. That, or you'll doze off entirely.

We have to tip our bowler hats to director Guy Ritchie who gave the movie a convincing look and feel. Moviegoers will instantly recognize the turn-of-the-century atmosphere of fictional London. The harpsichord-heavy instrumentals by Hans Zimmer of The Lion King and The Dark Knight fame gave Sherlock Holmes a much-needed musical identity.

Despite not being as popular with the present generation as it was with previous generations, Sherlock Holmes is definitely one flick worthy to be picked from the post-Metro Manila Film Festival litter. It's even good enough to be seen twice in the theaters just so you could understand the bloody accent.

Images Allmoviephoto

star_on star_on star_on star_on star_off
  • Great fight scenes
  • Funny, dry British wit
  • Explanations and conclusions tend to be wordy
  • It's hard to keep up with the accent
Bottom Line
  • Up for a night of mystery and "magic"? This movie's got you covered

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  1. jdacanay: looks interesting

    will watch
    January 7, 2020 at 11:41 am

  2. Dan C Rivera Jr: Oh bloody hell, that was a good review, thanks for being elementary my dear boy
    January 9, 2020 at 11:02 am

  3. robbie tan: It is clear that you haven't read the "Canon", my dear boy. Holmes is not only a great detective, but he is also a good chemist, have a working knowledge of British law, a pugilist, a single stick expert and a great actor.
    January 9, 2020 at 10:32 pm

  4. lurker: somebody's pretentious
    January 9, 2020 at 11:56 pm

  5. sd card: Great great great!
    Love the characters of Robert Downey Jr. & Jude Law!
    and love Rachel McAdams! REally good!
    Congrats Guy Ritchie!
    January 26, 2020 at 2:39 pm

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