Nick Schager Reviews Sherlock Holmes

Like a jaunty, boozy, fisticuffing night spent at a nineteenth-century cockney brothel, Sherlock Holmes rocks and rambles, steams and swings, bounces and blazes with the type of electricity it wasn’t clear director Guy Ritchie was capable of generating. Kickstarted by a jangly old world-new world score that oozes breathless verve, Ritchie’s vision of the renowned sleuth is in fact an assured reinvention, imagining Holmes as a frazzled mastermind with theatrical flair, martial arts skills and a voluminous intellect that he naturally employs in the service of mystery-solving. Ritchie’s film opens with a fleet-footed race through the dark, grimy London streets and catacombs to arrive at a black magic ceremony orchestrated by murderous Lord Blackwood (Mark Strong), whom Holmes and trusty sidekick Dr. Watson (Jude Law) – a voice of good sense and, thus, the bickering foil to loose-cannon Sherlock – ably foil. This success, however, is only a beginning in Michael Robert Johnson, Anthony Peckham and Simon Kinberg’s live-wire script, which proceeds to briskly map out not only its protagonists’ siblings-soulmates relationship but also tease out the true nefariousness afoot, which revolves around the executed Lord Blackwood’s apparent rise from the grave and subsequent plot to use the dark arts to seize control of jolly old England and, thereafter, the world.

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