Originally published on metropolis.co.jp on March 2010
It was through Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s spellbinding stories about a cerebral, genius detective and his doctor sidekick that, as a boy, I discovered the joys of reading. So it was with some dismay that I watched the trailer for this film, which, with all the buggy chases and explosions, looked more like a buddy movie, a kind of Victorian Bad Boys. I always thought the stories were pretty exciting as they were. Sigh. Another literary classic fed into the Hollywood mill. That said, this blissfully revisionist version, if taken on its own terms, is highly entertaining, thanks mainly to a twitchy, athletic performance by Robert Downey Jr. in the title role and director Guy Ritchie’s skill in walking the cusp between tradition and showmanship. Jude Law fills the bill stylishly as Dr. Watson. The original story (why?) contains numerous references to Conan Doyle’s works but is on the silly side. Bottom line: enjoy the movie, but promise yourself to one day pick up (or download) an anthology of Sherlock Holmes stories. They’ll be around long after this movie is forgotten.