Time/place: 4:35 showing at Ocean Ranch 7 (w/Tex) with Korkie
First, until I get another job, pretty much all of my reviews are going to come from a viewing at Ocean Ranch 7. I needs to save the cash :).
Most folks think I only enjoy movies that are heavy drama or have some sort of beautiful outlook on the world. I’ll give it to them, that for the most part those are the movies that will top my list nearly every time. It may surprise you to know that there are exceptions. I loved Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl because it was nothing more than exceptionally fun. It didn’t point out a beautiful world or pull at the heart-strings. It was simply a well-made movie that also happened to be a blast. Sherlock Holmes falls into the same category.
This is by no means a new release, as it’s been in theaters since Christmas day. The holidays were no time to go to try to brave the theater, and then I got sick and had car trouble… so it’s taken me awhile to get to see this movie. This isn’t a movie I was DYING to see, but I thought it would, at the very least, be fun. I’m a fan of the director, Guy Ritchie. It all started when Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels came out, followed by Snatch. This was a director who had a handle on great fun, and I would have been happy to see him make these kinds of movies until the end of time. Then he made a little movie called Revolver, though, that blew my mind and followed it up with RocknRolla. Guy Ritchie still had fun, but he was shifting into something else, and I enjoyed it. I wasn’t sure how that change may transition into something more established with Sherlock Holmes, but I found it to be absolutely fantastic.
And on to the actors? Indeed. Everyone involved is a very talented person, and I think they were all magnificently placed in their roles. Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law both brought equal charm to their roles, and their acting abilities shouldn’t even have to be explained by this point, yet it was their bond that I really enjoyed. These are two characters with whom I never once had a problem believing that they had shared a very long history. Eddie Marsan and the beautiful Rachel McAdams were as splendid as usual, too, and the subtleties of Mark Strong made a villain that was not just fun and engaging (as someone like Captain Barbosa might be described), but very deep as well. Though it mostly showed through at the end, there were moments throughout in which a lesser actor may have played the character without a soul, but this isn’t the case at all with Strong.
A great deal of why I enjoyed the movie overall, though, is because it was so darn smart. It wasn’t just brash and entertaining, filled with fun characters and situations… it was really brilliant. When a giant monster of a man (the one you’ve seen in the trailer) shows up, he doesn’t just get lumped into the cliche position of the “big, but slow and moronic” character. This isn’t the only refined moment, but it was one of my favorites. How many times have we all seen the giant, lumbering henchman stumbling after our hero? This guy was just as fun and interesting as any other character in the movie, and I thought it was a very pleasant surprise to see such attention given to even the more minor characters. That was my fault, though… I forgot that this is a Guy Ritchie movie ;).
Besides treating its characters with respect, the script and dialogue were also completely British in their humor and tone. The wit was fast and smart, and I thought it was a very fitting world for a new Sherlock Holmes to inhabit. This movie could have fallen into a trap of feeling “Americanized” but I think it retained its English heritage absolutely beautifully. Speaking of beauty, a large aspect of who Guy Ritchie has become is steeped in giving his movies moments of great heart. I won’t talk about it all in detail, of course, but I cared about these folks because they were more than caricatures – they were all well-rounded, with problems, history, and depth. As elements started to come about in the ending moments, I found myself getting very excited at the prospect of returning to all of this in a sequel. The movie does not demand a sequel, as this was not an origins story… but I’d sure love to see one :).
So, while it did initially take me a little while to get into the movie (though that may have been in part to the pestering of my viewing partner), by the end I was completely enamored by Sherlock Holmes. It is a rousing, fun, intelligent little adventure of a movie, and if you couldn’t tell – I recommend it wholeheartedly. For those who haven’t already seen it, at least ;).