SHERLOCK HOLMES: A SPOILER-FREE BADASS MOVIE REVIEW
BY: SPINAL VILLAIN
Robert Downey Jr.'s past vices have come to haunt him . . . err, or should I say, praise him. His past battle with the bottle and controlled substances have branded him, and he is landing roles that exploit that brand.
Enter Sherlock Holmes, a man of science, logic, and deductive reasoning. Thankfully, unlike past incarnations of the character, this Holmes is no boring think tank. Robert Downey Jr. pulls off an unorthodox Sherlock Holmes with style and brilliance, and it is more than a pleasure to watch. RDJ’s Holmes is athletic, flawed, and determined. He's as clumsy as he is brilliant. His charms continually entice the audience while his anti-social antics continually drive a wedge between him and his best friend, Watson (Jude Law). And he is psychologically complex, grappling with his own internal demons as well as multiple antagonists.
As good as RDJ’s performance is, Jude Law almost eclipses it as a man of medicine and Holmes' best friend and partner, Dr. Watson. Watson is also an accomplished veteran of a prior conflict to which his experiences will prove invaluable.
Rachel McAdams co-stars as a career criminal and Holmes' love interest, Irene Adler. Adler, however, has an ulterior motive and has her leash being yanked by a shadowy man who sets the stage for a sequel. McAdam's performance is memorable and will ensure her employment in future films.
The supporting cast is also dynamic and enjoyable with Mark Strong holding his own as the criminally gifted magic user, Lord Blackwood. Blackwood has an early departure from life in this movie but mysteriously comes "back from the grave," and the real chase is on as people start dying and Holmes must figure out why.
Director Guy Ritchie does a splendid job of using attention to detail to present a believable turn-of-the-century London, the stage for this movie. It also has plenty of action, twists and turns, great directing, and is loads of fun. Plus this film is rife with both subtle and overt humor. I got a good giggle more than a couple of times. With just enough humor to laugh at but not laugh it off, Sherlock Holmes will no doubt earn a place in most critics’ top 5 movies of 2009.
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