Here is a guest review from none other than Shotgun’s intelligent and charming twin sister. I give the movie a 3 out of 5 possible stars on the Shotgun movie scale. Enjoy the review:
In Sherlock Holmes, director Guy Richie offers a thoroughly entertaining, action-packed film that I believe Conan Doyle himself would approve. Over all, I feel that the true natures of the characters were not compromised, though there were additions that seem necessary to make the film work.
Robert Downey Junior presents us with a somewhat playful, enigmatic, and calculating Sherlock, not unlike Doyle’s. Both characters are flawed in that both are a nuisance to the land lady, keep an untidy apartment, and are prone to various forms of inebriation (an unhealthy habit used by Holmes to fight the boredom he experiences between cases).
The characters slightly differ, however, on the point of Irene Adler. Doyle’s Holmes is impressed by her wit, and, ever after, if he speaks of her, she is known as “the woman.” He is never portrayed as “in love,” or even infatuation; he is an eccentric, alone and aloof, and even somewhat calloused to the feelings of others. His brilliant mind dwells on facts, clues, and problem solving rather than on relationships. Though RDJ’s character reflects the fabled detective’s when he opts to arrest Adler rather than make out with her, I do not believe that the cunning Professor Moriarty of Doyle’s work would ever try using “the woman” to manipulate Holmes. I don’t think Doyle’s detective would be made vulnerable in this way.
Though Sherlock is mostly scientific and calculating, he does maintain a long-term relationship seen in both the stories and the film. Jude Law gives us our Watson in the movie: dependable, and long suffering as the Watson presented by Doyle, with a few additions. Doyle’s Watson is a sounding board for Holmes and is also used for the purpose of documenting the heroics of the detective. While he occasionally takes part in the solving of cases, for the most part, it is Holmes who is primarily in the way of danger. Law, however, shows us a more aggressive, ambitious Watson who is not so much a passive observer or submissive sounding board, but is very much a heroic sidekick, or even partner to Holmes.
The development of his (Watson’s) relationship with Mary in the film gives him a more rounded character; and his involvement with Homes in nearly all of the fight scenes, adventures, and explosions lends a heroic quality that nearly equals that of the detective! As stated earlier, however, I believe these additions to his character are necessary for the film, and I do not think that Doyle’s character Watson is in any way detracted from.
One point of interest regarding Mary: why was Watson introducing her to Holmes in the film? Doyle’s duo met her at the same time in “The Sign of Four,” and I think the plot of the movie would not have been affected had it remained true to the details of Doyle. I suppose the interaction with both her and Adler lends a feminine presence to the screen, which we all know increases sales profits!
Finally, I would have liked to have seen more of the intellect of Holmes in RDJ’s character. I feel the genius of the detective glimmers at the end, but does not shine as in the fabled legends. At least for this viewer, there was no sense of awe at the brilliance of Holmes’ mind. There is, though, the exciting victory of intellect over greed for power.
As a whole, I feel RDJ triumphantly relates the overall uniqueness of Holmes’ character to a 21st century audience with a hunger for adventure and romance, and I eagerly await another S. H. film!