Why Did Everyone Hate Sherlock Holmes (2009)?

Seriously, what was everyone’s problem with this flick? The missus and I sat down to watch it Saturday night with lots of negative reviews (or possibly negative thoughts) ringing in our ears and yet I had a great time watching the movie. I haven’t been this perplexed by a film’s lack of success/love since Speed Racer, which I also watched on DVD after hearing tons of shit dumped on it and walking away loving the movie.

Maybe expectations going into the movie for some were too high? Combining Robert Downey Jr. with Jude Law and Rachel McAdams and having the whole thing directed by Guy Ritchie might have had lots of people thinking the movie would be one thing and it turned out to be another? I had actually forgotten that Ritchie directed the movie which was okay because I’m not really a fan of his anyway.

I also didn’t know McAdams was in the movie. I find her to be one of the best actors of her generation and love seeing her in different kinds of movies (Wedding Crashers, Red Eye). And who doesn’t love Downey Jr.? I found the dynamic between Downey and Law to be spot on, the same going for Downey and McAdams.

The plot of the film follows Holmes and a reluctant Watson as Holmes tries to figure out how a man came back from the dead and how he plans to take over London. So, no, it’s not necessarily the most cerebral Holmes movie ever devised, but that’s not a problem for me because I was looking for a cool action movie with actors I like playing characters I’m generally familiar with.

And speaking of the action, there are these scenes with Holmes fighting where Ritchie slows everything down and has Holmes think out exactly what he’s doing to his opponent, then it returns to normal speed and we see how it works out for him. Usually it’s pretty good. There’s also plenty of scenes of Holmes explaining his deductive reasoning, which I thought holds up against the few Sherlock Holmes stories I’ve read myself and the other interpretations of the character I’ve seen and read over the years (anyone else remember the Alvin And The Chipmunks take on Holmes?).

SPOILER I also appreciated that Professor Moriarty wasn’t the villain. Yeah, he was in the movie and pulling some of the strings, but he wasn’t Holmes’ main adversary.

Before signing off, I want to make a note to comic book movie writers. Take this movie as an example: you don’t need to have a kick ass action movie be an origin story. Holmes comes off as basically a Victorian Batman, kicking ass and solving crimes, yet the story takes place after Holmes and Watson have established themselves as master crime solvers. What a novel idea, right? It’s almost like you don’t have to waste an entire movie on explaining how someone got to be awesome to show them being awesome.

So, yeah, I liked the movie. A lot. It was a fun romp and like I said, I’m surprised it didn’t do better, especially if you were looking for a thematic follow up from Downey to Iron Man before Iron Man 2 came out. Give it a shot if you haven’t seen it, I’ll think you’ll dig it.

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