I am a big fan of the Sherlock Holmes stories, having spent a good part of my teenage and college days reading Doyle's books multiple times over. I have also tremendously enjoyed the Guy Ritchie films that I have watched so far - Lock, Stock and two smoking barrels, and Snatch. So, needless to say, I had huge expectations from the Guy Ritchie adaptation of Sherlock Holmes. And this movie did not disappoint me, though I did not adore the movie as much as I thought I would.
Guy Ritchie has given Sherlock Holmes a cool new makeover and transforms him into an adventure loving action hero (though Doyle gives an impression in the books that Holmes was more a man of languor than a man of action), while keeping his methodical logic and meticulous attention to detail, intact. In fact, there is a lot of focus throughout the film on these well known and other little known Holmes traits, and other quirks that are trademarks of the Baker street detective. But what is most striking is the beautiful interpretation of the Holmes - Watson relationship. Since the books are narrated from Watson's perspective, the neutral perspective of the film throws new light on Holmes's emotional dependence on Watson and his possessive love for his loyal sidekick. Jude Law plays his part to delightful perfection and is often more charming than Downey Jr. Downey Jr. though good, is still more Downey Jr. than Sherlock Holmes, but the two actors share a great on-screen chemistry.
Ritchie continues to delight with his fast paced staccato style narration of a complicated plot, though the execution here is not as perfect as in Lock, Stock... and Snatch, and there were phases in the movie which felt abrupt and left me a little confused. In keeping with the style of the books, the storyline remains vague for the major part until Holmes offers his traditional logical explanation of the case in the end. The makers, however, seem to have tried to emulate the success of the Batman franchise, rejuvenated by Nolan, and at times, I did feel like I was watching Sherlock Holmes in "The Prestige".
The cinematography is brilliant as with the other Ritchie films, and so is the background score.
Overall, a good film. Would I watch it again? Yes. And a sequel? Definitely, yes. I am looking forward to Guy Ritchie making a better Holmes film.