Opinion is divided on the Guy Ritchie interpreation of Conan-Doyles’ work. Personally I like when the first one came out I re-read the books and I thought they captured the essence of the original, rather than the politically correct Basil Ratbone snob accompanied by a bubbling Watson. Sure Watson does not have the analytical mind of Holmes, but he has the good sense and pragmatism his friend lacks. Again the RD-Jr. and Law partneship works.
There is the cartoonish feel to this movie as with the previous one and some of the novelty of the original is lost we we get used to the style but it is still greatly entertaining in its larger than life view of the world. These films are not reproductions of the books but rather interpreations of the character drawing from the written volumes – Gang of Four and A Scandal in Bohemia as well as others are the plot basis here.
The arch villan of Conan-Doyle’s work is of course Professor Moriarity, a shadowy figure who comes out in to the daylight in this offering. This is perhaps a slight weakness as I like my Moriarity as a dark figure, but this is a matter of interpretation. I’m also not sure about Mycroft, Sherlock’s older brother who is actually the smarter one of the two who essntially has an unidentified role in Whitehall esnuring the safety of the empire and the running of the country. Equally as odd as sherlock he seems just a little front and centre for me, but that said, I think nicely played by Stephen Fry.
The nearest to any timeline here is Watson’s upcoming nuptuals, again Law plays the gambling war-hero with the flaws and strengths of the original. Quietly saving Holmes from himsellf – and others- along the way.
I mentioned some of the books earlier, and indeed the key one is he Final Problem, the book where Conan-Doyle tried to kill-off his creation via the Reichenbach falls, this coming in the second movie of the franchise was a surprise but Ritchie worked well with it – I’m saying no more on that aspect.
When all is said and done it is light-hearted entertainment, just as the original weekly stories were. Holmes has always been open to reinterpretation and reinvention and this series of films is no different.
I’ve come to like Guy Ritchie’s work and this is no different, if you want to spend some time with most of your brain parked outside (retain some mental faculties to keep up with Sherlock!) the cinema and be entertained then this movie will work for you. Not perfect but the flaws perhaps add to it.
6/10 – a solid 3 star movie which earns the ticket price.