2 hours, 8 minutes
Sherlock Holmes (Robert Downey, Jr., Wonder Boys), the man and the movie, hit the ground running. Holmes skulks in the shadows, hot on the trail of evil-doers as they congregate for an unholy sacrifice. Holmes and his partner, Dr. Watson (Jude Law, Closer), swing into action before Inspector Lestrade (Eddie Marsan, V for Vendetta) and Scotland Yard arrive, stopping the fiendish killer Lord Blackwood (Mark Strong, RocknRolla) from taking another life.
Given a lack of challenging cases, Holmes becomes bored until the now dead Blackwood is spotted rising from the grave. As people die at the hands of the reborn madman, Holmes and Watson must discover the truth behind the black magic, if they can keep their own personal issues and Holmes's old flame, Irene Adler (Rachel McAdams, State of Play), from throwing him off his game.
Sherlock is exhilarating and Downey is excellent, as always. The banter and strained camaraderie between Holmes and Watson is engaging and reminds me of the tried and true buddy mash-ups. The details and plot are intricate and carefully laid, ensuring a satisfying resolution to the supernatural mystery.
Why, then, did I leave Sherlock Holmes feeling it lacked something? The slow-motion, annotated prelude to Sherlock's plans was stylish and enhanced the impact of the fight scenes. The momentum of the story rarely falters; witty dialogue and random action sequences are plentiful.
The problem is that it feels like every minute of its two hour and eight minute runtime. Sometimes that's just the way it is. For example, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button was an excellently made film, but damned if I could sit through it again. I wondered if Sherlock Holmes would have been on point if director Guy Ritchie (Snatch) had trimmed fifteen to twenty minutes.
As much as I hate to say this, Ritchie could have made Sherlock Holmes snappier had he cut Rachel McAdams. Though she is lovely and saucy as Adler, her character does nothing more than establish a premise for the sequel. For pete's sake, save those glimpses for Sherlock Holmes II: The Holmes Field Advantage!
The Money Shot
All in all, there's nothing wrong with Sherlock Holmes. Good story, good action and solid performances. I heartily recommend laying down some coin at the box office to give it a go. However, I hold no such claim for future sequels...I feel a jumbled, bloated Pirates trilogy on the horizon.
Tuesday, January 5, 2010