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Sherlock Holmes (2009 movie)

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

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It may not be classic Sherlock, but Downey Jr. and Law make it all worth the time

  • Mar 31, 2011


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 body is nowhere to be found, only confirming the rumors. Now Blackwood's killing spree continues and it seems that he cannot be killed. So Holmes and Watson must get on the case and figure out the truth as to what has really taken place, all while Watson intends to get married, and Holmes is visited by his former lover Irene Adler (Rachel McAdams).

Let me begin by saying I have only read but a few of the original Sherlock Holmes stories, so for everyone who was a big fan and said this didn't stick with the source material, I really cannot say much about that. But from what I have read it is true, Sherlock Holmes the film does not follow too closely to the stories. But for me that is no big deal. I personally believe that even if a film does not stay with its source material, whether it be a book, play or short story, it still should not really be judged by that. One of the best movies I have ever seen in "To Kill a Mockingbird" leaves pretty big stuff out that was in the book, but that doesn't change the fact that it is an unbelievable film. Obviously, Sherlock Holmes is in no way near as good as To Kill a Mockingbird, but it is basically the same concept. Sherlock Holmes in itself may not be a brilliant film but, I don't think it should be criticised for not keeping to its original source material, that may just be me though.

With that said, I have heard and read many people saying they were "disappointed" with this film, which I suppose I can understand. If you are expecting classic Sherlock Holmes don't even bother with this film, because you will not like it. I was actually not expecting this to be much, and that may be one of the reasons that made me enjoy it as I did. From the trailers it seemed that Sherlock Holmes was going to be terrible. Originally I thought Robert Downey Jr. was a total miscast, and it seemed they were showing Holmes to be more of an action hero than a detective. This did not turn out to be entirely true, though I did have a few problems with Holmes' character. I would have preferred him to be more of just a detective, than a martial arts expert, but the film did do a good job of mixing action and mystery, and for that I think it deserves credit. So the characters (mainly Holmes) may not be as they were in the stories, which I would have liked more, but they did turn out to be okay in the end.

A big reason for that would be the acting on the part of Robert Downey Jr. I have heard many people say he was a miscast, but I honestly could not disagree more with that. Sherlock Holmes may have under developed characters, but Downey Jr. completely makes up for that with a very strong performance in this film. I thought he had the accent down well, and his quick humor was very funny at times. His performance in this was as good, or maybe even better than it was in the first Iron Man. He made up for any flaws with the script or character development. Right from the trailers, one of the only things I thought looked good about the film actually, was that Jude Law would be perfect playing Watson. I have come to have a high respect for him as an actor, though he may play in some bad films his acting always seems to be good. And as soon as the right role comes along he should receiving an Oscar. He was great playing Watson, and he would be the highlight of the film if it weren't for Downey Jr. Rachel McAdams is also an actress I like in particular. She does not have a huge role in this, but for the time she was in it she was good as she always is. Though Mark Strong was a downfall in the cast, I have seen him in several films now and I just cannot seem to care for him at all, and this performance did not change that. He might have had the creepy look at times, but he just didn't really fit the part in the end.

The film in general was really easy on the eyes as well. It was shot nicely, and the cinematography was good. It may not have been anything amazing, but it was a nice addition to an already flawed film. Guy Ritchie probably wasn't the best choice for director, but I actually think he did an alright job here. His direction could have used improvement, and hopefully it will be better by the next film, but for the most part he kept the film interesting and fairly mysterious at times. I am honestly very much looking forward to the sequel, and I am glad to see that it is taking two years to finish the film. Too often times do I see a sequel come out a year after the original, and that can usually mean bad things. Not always, but it happens a lot. If Guy Ritchie works out his direction a bit more, and fixes some of the other flaws the second film has the potential to be better than this one, and my expectations are high for it.

Overall, Sherlock Holmes will not fit the biggest fans of the stories, as it dumps a lot of the source material. But if you aren't expecting much and take it for what it is, the film actually turns out to be very enjoyable. The screenplay is not great, and the script isn't very impressive, which hurts the film quite a lot. But Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law completely make it worth the watching as they both do excellent jobs with their characters, and the supporting cast worked except for Mark Strong. Hans Zimmer's musical score is fantastic as always, and if you really give this film a chance it works out. Guy Ritchie has plenty of work to do before the sequel is released, but I think it will end up being very good, and I honestly cannot wait.

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April 01, 2011
I enjoyed this movie but found all the wise cracks distracting.
April 04, 2011
That's understandable. Thanks for reading!
March 31, 2011
Much as I didn't like its different flavor to the character and I wasn't too taken with Ritchie's directing, this began to grow on me after multiple watches on HBO. Downey was alright in my book.
March 31, 2011
Yeah, it certainly isn't for everyone. Thanks for reading!
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 29, 2009
posted in Movie Hype
FUN, Nicely Acted But the Screenplay is Very
   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 …
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 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
Matt Stewart ()
Basically all anyone would need to know about me is I love movies. I watch movies, review them, and I can always enjoy a good, long talk about the art of film making.
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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.

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Genre: Action, Adventure
Release Date: December 25, 2009
Studio: Warner Bros Pictures, Village Roadshow Pictures
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