Sherlock Holmes - Blu-ray Review

'Downey's Holmes blends together elements of Tony Stark and that of two captains; Shatner's Kirk and Depp's Sparrow'

Diving in to the heart of the film with hardly a pause for some well-integrated credits, Guy Ritchie's update on the Sherlock Holmes story is fun, fast and frolicking, without ever forgetting that it needs a meaty mystery to tie it all together. A major success at the box office (it sits 70th on the all time worldwide list, just a few small millions short of The Simpsons Movie), this murder-mystery cum Robert Downey Jr. vehicle, revels and delights in the same sense of humour-meets-fun-meets-action combination that made Iron Man such a success.

Iron Man is actually an apt comparison as Downey's Holmes, apparently not desperate for a bit of cash, blends together elements of Tony Stark and that of two captains; Shatner's Kirk and his obsessive received pronunciation speech and Depp's Sparrow with all his beguiling tics and manic charm. The effect is not displeasing and although Downey Jr. could do with doing something a little different every now and again (playing the villain perhaps), spending a couple of hours in his company nowadays never seems to be an unsatisfying experience.

Of the support, Jude Law is well cast as Watson and personifies Downey's antithesis to a very effective degree. The script by Michael Robert Johnson, Anthony Peckham and Simon Kinberg is well written and fully developed but wisely leaves both lead turns with plenty of room for development and manoeuvre, something which Law grabs with both hands. Mark Strong is perfect as nefarious evil-doer Lord Blackwood and it's also nice to see Eddie Marsan in a fairly big role as Inspector Lestrade although his influence on the plot is disappointingly minor. The female presence in Holmes is represented almost solely by Rachel McAdams and Kelly Reilly in roles that, whilst emanating slightly more depth than they could have, almost boil down to being love interests. It's an indicative problem with Hollywood at large, rather than this film in particular, that yet another blockbuster has its two talented female leads as the damsel in distress and the devoted wife-to-be respectfully.

Whilst Holmes' plot can occasionally sound like a scene from Harry Potter, all 'dark arts' and the mysteries of the occult, there's enough tangible mystery to keep those of us less bothered with the fantasy elements interested and happily, Ritchie and his scriptwriters have enough intelligence about them to provide a satisfying end that feels like a somewhat nostalgic nod to the Holmes of old. In this iteration Sherlock might have bulked up and he certainly isn't afraid of getting his hands dirty, but equally none of the charm of the period, of the high vs low society class divide and of the simple pleasure in watching a mystery solved before you, has been lost or forgotten.

Look further...

The Incredible Suit, (possibly doing his best to negatively review Sherlock Holmes, possibly doing his best to incite a suit of the libel kind from Jude Law) suggests a few things you can buy instead of Sherlock Holmes here.


  1. Mr Law's solicitors are yet to take the bait. Chickens.

  2. Patience Mr Suit, my letters may not have reached them yet.