[simage=121,288,y,right,]My wife and I saw the new Sherlock Holmes movie starring Robert Downey, Jr. this weekend. Based on the previews and the cast, I was hoping for a rough-and-tumble, roguish portrayal of the man described by Arthur Conan Doyle, rather than the prim and proper hat-wearing gentleman who somehow has crept into the various film portrayals of Holmes.
What transpired was a rather tepid combination of an admittedly rough-hewn Holmes fighting and scratching his way through the T.S Eliot-esque vision of everyday London life in the late 1800s with a relatively uninspiring plot cobbling together the most popular Holmes villains. This includes the shadowy presence of Professor Moriarty, who ultimately asserts himself only so far as to ensure a sequel, and Irene Adler, Holmes’ sometimes-adversary, sometimes-lover.
The story itself involves the exposition of a group using the appearance of the supernatural to try and “take over the world” (yes, Pinky and the Brain crossed my mind) by killing most of the British Parliament, but it takes two hours to play out, and I really wasn’t interested in whether they succeeded or failed by the end of the film. The last fifteen minutes, well after the denouement, seem to be there only to tie in Moriarty and set him up as a future villain, and by that point, it just made me angry that I was being forced to sit and watch.
On the plus side, the sets (although not the cinematography) are quite good, and really do a good job of portraying a London that is neither genteel nor quite sure of itself, yet still bustling with life and the raw nature of the human condition.