Movies Books Music Food Tv Shows Technology Politics Video Games Parenting Fashion Green Living more >

Lunch » Tags » Movies » Reviews » Sherlock Holmes (2009 movie) » User review

Sherlock Holmes (2009 movie)

A 2009 film adaptation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's fictional character of the same name

< read all 30 reviews

Energetic Direction and Nicely Acted; But the Screenplay is Very "ELEMENTARY" and Predictable...

  • Dec 29, 2009

Sherlock Holmes was created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and this character has clearly become a household name in the books of detective thrillers. Once again, Hollywood intends to re-imagine/revive/ re-issue the beloved detective under Guy Ritchie’s direction in 2009’s “SHERLOCK HOLMES”. Many folks would describe this movie as entertaining, fun and a piece of diversion. Diversion is such a loose word to use to describe a movie; after all even a shitty movie can be diverting as long as it isn’t pretentious. Well, Ritchie’s “Sherlock Holmes” isn’t shitty but it sure isn’t appetizing either.
London, 1891. Sherlock Holmes (Robert Downey Jr.) and Watson (Jude Law) had just prevented the human sacrifice of a young woman by Lord Blackwood (Mark Strong) and had the criminal delivered to the authorities led by Inspector Lestrade (Eddie Marsan). Some months later, Holmes is just bored with having no mystery to solve that he often goes to unusual lengths to amuse himself much to the chagrin of Watson. Much to Holmes’ surprise, Blackwood had requested to have a talk with him before his execution and what he revealed was something Holmes won’t be able to prevent.
After his execution, Holmes gets summoned to Blackwood’s grave site and an undertaker had seemingly witnessed Blackwood’s resurrection. The police baffled, the public frightened, Blackwood had dabbled in the black arts that a black resurrection may indeed be possible. Holmes and Watson sets out to solve the mystery; but thing get more complicated as Watson now has plans to marry a beautiful woman (Kelly Reilly) and Sherlock’s old flame Irene Adler (Rachel McAdams) had resurfaced. Can Holmes and Watson keep things together to prevent the disaster that Blackwood had predicted?

           Robert Downey Jr. as Sherlock Holmes in "Sherlock Holmes."

                           Mark Strong as Lord Blackwood in "Sherlock Holmes."
I won’t waste any time telling you that 2009’s serving of Sherlock Holmes is a departure from the classic detective stories and purists will no doubt be disappointed. This movie was exactly what I expected; gone are the head-scratching mysteries that made the Holmes name famous. The detective skills displayed are pretty perfunctory and there is nothing quite impressive with the way Ritchie defines the character. Instead, the audience is treated to an experience to something that feels very rehearsed as the film does cast any doubts that Holmes would solve the mystery quite easily. We see the Holmes persona looking through a room doing his deduction and pre-plotting his moves to stay two or three steps ahead in a fight that may prove to be quite entertaining. However, the fun of Sherlock Holmes is the experience of being involved with the clues and the viewer has a chance to solve the mystery themselves. Well, the movie goes into flashbacks as to how things are resolved but it all made for Hollywood flash and style that I never cared much about the resolution; it all seems so predictable and quite frankly very dull.

         Robert Downey Jr. as Sherlock Holmes and Jude Law as Dr. Watson in "Sherlock Holmes."
                       Mark Strong as Lord Blackwood and James Fox as Sir Thomas Rotheram in "Sherlock Holmes."
In place of an involving mystery, the direction goes into some rehearsed action scenes to try and distract us from the hollow plot. Yes, there is a lot of action to be had with “Sherlock Holmes”; the encounters are pretty fun and diverting. I liked Holmes’ encounters with several big men and when he gets his back against the wall, he becomes funny? I guess Ritchie wanted to tone down the violence in order for it to be accessible; this is a common practice with Hollywood films, be a crowd-pleaser and give the viewer what you think they want to see. The set designs are pretty good and the costumes appear to look like a blend of modern and contemporary styles. I liked it, but I missed the classic “pipes” used by Holmes but I really don’t miss the hat. 

           Kelly Reilly as Mary and Jude Law as Dr. Watson in "Sherlock Holmes."
To its credit, the film is well-acted. Downey makes for a charming persona as our eccentric detective; I thought he managed to grab the show and provided a lot of energy. I have second thoughts whether I should say that Downey had become an actor who acts the same in every movie, but I think he managed to dig deep to portray an English sleuth. Jude Law makes for an exciting partner albeit, his character wasn’t as well written as Holmes. His character fell to the usual foils as to experiencing thrills alongside Holmes or settling down; I thought the substantial plot arrangements became overshadowed by the usual devices that became a little boring. Rachel McAdams is beautiful as Irene Adler; she is convincing that Holmes would be infatuated with her yet, the script fails to establish a connection between them save for the sexual tension. Her character feels a little too forced and insignificant. The villain Lord Blackwood (Mark Strong) is your usual “obsessed with conquering the world” but he proved to be too underwhelming and the stakes felt very empty because of the lackluster script.

                   Rachel McAdams as Irene Adler in "Sherlock Holmes."
“Sherlock Holmes” provides mild entertaining fun. I liked some aspects of the film and I enjoyed the way Ritchie showed the devotion between Holmes and Watson as genuine partners in crime-busting. I guess in many ways, the film is a “buddy flick” and a usual serving of popcorn entertainment. Despite the flaws, the film does manage to take off in the second half when the direction became quite energetic. The problems with Ritchie’s “Holmes” isn’t about the energy or the performances; it all just feels very “elementary” or in this case, very predictable and underwhelming.
Recommended with Caution, RENT IT first. [3 stars]

This Review is a Lunch.com Exclusive


FUN, Nicely Acted But the Screenplay is Very

What did you think of this review?

Fun to Read
Post a Comment
April 29, 2010
Dude your review is spot on with this one. I felt the same way man good acting and such but the writing left something out. Great review WP.
January 08, 2010
Nice one, will go check it out soon! on DVD I mean :-)
January 30, 2010
check out my newest list...you'll be glad you did.
January 05, 2010
I was going to rate to read the reviews until they started to appear to consistently give this film average marks. Great review...I am going to wait for the video.
January 05, 2010
yeh. This wasn't that bad, but I cannot recommend going to see this in the theater.
January 03, 2010
Nice review, I'll add this to my movie queue once I resubscribe back to netflix and it becomes available.
January 03, 2010
Thanks, man. How was your New Year's? Just rent this first, isn't something I'd like to see again and again. Seen AVATAR yet? I reviewed it too and gave it a 4.5/5.
December 30, 2009
On the money, woopak - on the money...
December 30, 2009
Thanks! wonder how Arthur Conan Doyle would feel?
December 29, 2009
The images look splendid, but after all the reviews I read about this film being mediocre, especially yours, I think I'm going to have to pass. Especially after I just saw that epicness that is Avatar :P Great review, Woo!
December 29, 2009
I think you'll be better off renting it, Devora. It's not so bad but it would be better as a rental. I was just so bored that I went out to see it with my friends. Yes, AVATAR is one heckuva movie and this would pale in comparison. (read my review of it?) I'm moving to live with the Na'vi; can I still review from there? ;-P

Scottie, please don't say that thinking man's movies will not do so well in this modern time; that is just so not true. The Dark Knight was a thinking man's comic book movie after all. The problem is H-wood feeds us generic movies and we have nothing else to watch and relies on "star power". What saved this movie was the chemistry between Downey and Law but it never showed me anything that wasn't done before and done better. Take away the Sherlock Holmes name and it is pretty generic. I do hope the sequel would be more compelling; but with Ritchie at the helm, I think it is safe to say that it'll be another popcorn affair.
December 29, 2009
Nice job on this one. Truthfully, I didn't expect that much of this film, so I'm not surprised that it sort of falls into the mediocre rating area. The cast is good, but doesn't match the characters in Conan Doyle's books.
December 29, 2009
Yep, thankfully the cast was good; I would've rated this a 2 if they weren't. The action was cool, but I found it curious that Holmes was pulling off Asian martial arts tho' it didn't bother me. Pretty mediocre serving of a popcorn flick.
December 29, 2009
Much as I expected. Downey tends to go back and forth between doing great acting in great films and great acting in crappy films.
December 29, 2009
Yeh. he stole the show in that comedy with Stiller (Tropic Thunder) and was real good as Iron Man (tho' I think it missed the mood). Downey needs to get his stuff together. Hey, I know you like silent films and moody screenplay, check out my write up on AVALON. It is a very different cinematic experience.
December 29, 2009
Oh if I only I had paid some attention and noticed who was directing this I might not have been so excited about the possibilities! I was looking forward to seeing Downey, even though I couldn't picture him as Holmes I thought he could bring something interesting to the role. But with Ritchey as Director, sigh, it's going to everything I don't want to see. I was willing to put up with a certain percentage of re-imagining bullshit but I think this is going to go way to far for me. Sherlock Holmes--Action Hero! ... At least Clooney isn't going to let me down. My first use of the gift card is going to be on his film UP IN THE AIR.
December 29, 2009
The only work I liked of Ritchie's was LOCK STOCK AND TWO SMOKING BARRELS. (not sure if he did SNATCH) Downey did make the movie quite bearable; the guy can indeed act and take control. Let us know how UP IN THE AIR holds up, wouldja? I still wanna check out THE ROAD (but I have to drive real far) and THE BLIND SIDE. (my friends said it was great)
December 29, 2009
I want to really use my movie passes very carefully.
December 29, 2009
The trailer certainly makes it seems like an action flick.
January 02, 2010
It is an action flick, Karen. I felt like I was watching Stephen Sommers' take on Holmes.
January 04, 2010
Yuck. I liked the first Mummy movie, but otherwise I'm not all that crazy about Sommers'. I finally went to the movies and saw the Clooney flick UP IN THE AIR and liked it a lot. No, there won't be a review.
December 29, 2009
This is pretty much what I expected of Sherlock Holmes.  I want to see this, but I've already been able to pick from the previews that this isn't exactly going to be the kind of movie you'd go to expecting awesome character development and the usual kind of cleverness that often gets associated with movies released around this time.  Rather I imagined it to be similar to a Hollywood Blockbuster released in the summer.  Giving you a ride rather than stimulating the mind.  I can go with that, but to hear about how the screenplay doesn't want to provide much depth to the characters is still rather disappointing where as there are quite a few movies that would prefer to do this... even in the summer.
December 29, 2009
It missed the things that made the Sherlock Holmes name great. The mystery was just so predictable and provided very little in ways of the plot. I felt like the action scenes were there to delay the film's resolution rather than an inherent part of the movie. This movie would've been really bad if it wasn't for Downey's acting...Thanks, Sean! I'm now off to watch 500 DAYS OF SUMMER...I know you loved that one.
December 29, 2009
I did, a surprise to me, but it is kind of different.  It's a different kind of love story instead of the typical: "Boy meets girl, boy and girl fall in love... conflict, "I love you!" someone dies, the end," kind of love story.
December 29, 2009
Sean will be alright without this movie, I think I started to have a feel on our friend's tastes. I'll be reviewing "500 Days" since I did like LOVE ACTUALLY.
January 02, 2010
Well, I did happen to get out to the movie, and I have to say that it was about what I expected and that Woopak's review was right on the mark.  You're right, I probably would've been alright without it.  Didn't hate it, but it should've been so much better.
More Sherlock Holmes (2009 movie) reviews
review by . December 13, 2010
Lord Blackwood, serial killer and black occultist, has finally been brought to justice. Returning from the grave only gives more weight to his already potent reputation, as well as his ominous predictions of what is to yet to come. Yet, Sherlock Holmes seems too preoccupied with the imminent loss of his life-long bachelor friend and valued assistant, Dr. Watson, to act effectively against Blackwood's schemes.      Love seems to be the only thing to truly confound and successfully …
review by . August 17, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
*** out of ****    Guy Ritchie's "Sherlock Holmes" stylistically reverses the intentions that we are to expect from both cinematic and non-cinematic outings starring everyone's favorite titular sleuth. While we're used to an intelligent, perplexing labyrinth of a mystery; Ritchie's attempted "update" on the character and the "Sherlock Holmes" universe itself presents us with a mystery that is almost decidedly simplistic yet creatively drawn out for a larger, more modern and mainstream …
review by . December 30, 2009
 ... while spinning in his urn, most likely. Robert Downey Jr once again proves himself to be the best actor of his generation and without him this movie would limp along, and its inconsequential paper-thin plot would be much more grating. Perhaps the biggest crime in the film is that Holmes - as a 2-dimensional vehicle for awesomely-intriguing detective tricks - is given a really lousy case that relies on some massive leaps of logic and an almost physic predictive ability.      …
review by . January 02, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Through all the grime and soot of old London towne, Holmes found that clue.
It's probably a good thing that I've never read a Sherlock Holmes story as I might have only gone into this movie with a laundry list of facts and tidbits and leaving the theater annoyed at how much was spat on if in fact it was.      With what I know about Sherlock Holmes, being an urbane, professional, intellectual with his cap on his head and calabash in mouth, it was odd to see him a sweaty, dirty, fussy and unshaven pit fighting brawler with a dinky little pipe.  …
review by . May 13, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
SHERLOCK HOLMES       I wanted to see this movie so bad because I have always been a fan of Holmes and of course of Robert Downey Jr. So I was a bit disappointed when I missed it in the theaters and had to wait for the DVD/Blu Ray release and all that. So as I waited some things went down but eventually it was released. So naturally I went out and had to own this even without seeing it. Still that didn't matter we all wanted to see it so off we went to view the new Holmes movie. …
review by . March 31, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
  Sherlock Holmes (Robert Downey Jr.) and his assistant Dr. John Watson (Jude Law) have just closed another case by capturing Lord Blackwood (Mark Strong) who has dealt with murder, and been very involved with black magic. Lord Blackwood is hanged for his crimes; however, after several months rumors begin to spread that he is in fact still alive, by apparently using more magic to keep himself from dying. When Blackwood's coffin is opened, it is found that another man is there, and Blackwood's …
review by . March 25, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Several years ago my brother introduced me to the films of Guy Ritchie. Fun stories, insane amounts of gun fire and some serious profanity. I remember getting my first taste of Jason Statham and not being able to contain my excitement when a fight was about to break out on screen and he was in the scene. Sherlock Holmes brings elements of past Ritchie films and incorporates the style with a classic Holmes story. And just as I yelled for blood during his previous movies, I did the same watching Holmes …
review by . January 02, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
As 2009 came to a close there were two movies in particular that were released that people had their eye on.  The first was Avatar, James Cameron's amazing visual spectacle.  The other was Sherlock Holmes, which dropped just after Christmas.  When it came to Sherlock Holmes it was hard to say what to think of it.            I rarely delight in movie previews and it's even rarer that I look at a preview and think to myself, "There's …
review by . January 05, 2010
A thoroughly entertaining take on Sherlock Holmes. A lot of UK critics seemed to have a downer on it, saying it runs out of steam, or the bromance elements of the Holmes/Watson relationship got tired, but I don't agree. The story for the most part cracks along, and Downey Jr and Law maintain the odd couple thing ably.       Plus, some fans may be miffed at how the Holmes character is portrayed as a brawling, dirty scruffbag. As I understand it though, …
Quick Tip by . December 29, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
A little slow and boring to start but it gets better and has a very good and unexpected ending. Worth the watch for sure.
About the reviewer
William ()
Ranked #1
Please "Like" Film and Movies and Keep the Economy strong....LOL!!      My Interests: Movies, Anime, History, Martial Arts, Comics, Entertainment,Cooking, Things I don't … more
Consider the Source

Use Trust Points to see how much you can rely on this review.

Your ratings:
rate more to improve this
About this movie


Sherlock Holmes
is a film starring Robert Downey Jr, Jude Law and Rachel McAdams.  The film will be released on Christmas Day 2009.

Sherlock Holmes is a 2009 film adaptation of Arthur Conan Doyle's fictional character of the same name. The film was directed by Guy Ritchie and produced by Joel Silver, Lionel Wigram, Susan Downey and Dan Lin. The screenplay by Michael Robert Johnson, Anthony Peckham and Simon Kinberg is based on Lionel Wigram's story and Doyle's characters. Robert Downey, Jr. and Jude Law respectively portray Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson. The film was released in the United States on December 25, 2009 and on December 26, 2009 in the UK and the Pacific.

view wiki


Genre: Action, Adventure
Release Date: December 25, 2009
Studio: Warner Bros Pictures, Village Roadshow Pictures
First to Review
© 2015 Lunch.com, LLC All Rights Reserved
Lunch.com - Relevant reviews by real people.
This is you!
Ranked #
Last login
Member since