[This post was originally published on my main personal blog, corybanter.tumblr.com.]
When I saw the first Guy Ritchie adaptation of Sherlock Holmes, starring Robert Downey Jr. as Holmes and Jude Law as Watson, I actually thought it was pretty decent. A little heavy on the action sequences, and light on the deductions, but not bad. Recently, I’ve been trying to sit through the sequel, Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows. I still think Jude Law does a pretty excellent job playing Watson, and Stephen Fry is great as Mycroft Holmes, but Robert Downey Jr. is little short of horrible as Holmes. He’s a clownish buffoon of a character, a scruffy action hero who bears almost no resemblance to the Sherlock Holmes created by Arthur Conan Doyle.
Maybe part of my disappointment this time around is that Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller do so well as Holmes in their respective versions (Sherlock and Elementary), that Downey simply pales in comparison. I was captivated instantly by Cumberbatch’s performance, and having watched all the episodes of Elementary that have aired thus far, I am almost equally impressed by Miller.
I have been a Holmes fan since I was about 10 or 11 years old. My great aunt gave me a paperback Holmes anthology, which I devoured, and my grandfather and I used to discuss Conan Doyle’s creation after I started reading all of the Holmes stories a couple years later. (Grandpa was a big fan of Basil Rathbone’s Holmes…not my favorite.) In my opinion, Cumberbatch and Miller are carrying on the tradition of Holmes actors splendidly, while Downey is a joke. Just my little soapbox speech for today…
UPDATE (1/14/14): I finally managed to make it through the whole film, and it wasn't 100% awful. Still, it was pretty ludicrous most of the way through. Just a suggestion for Mr. Ritchie: that slo-mo "planning out the fight in his head" gimmick was pretty cool in the first Sherlock Holmes film, but it gets tiresome once you've seen it a few times. If I remember correctly, he does it at least three times in Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows. Oh, also, can anyone explain why Downey's Holmes has a face that's always in a state of unshaven stubble? (To be fair, Jonny Lee Miller's Holmes almost always has stubble as well.) Final verdict: meh.
I'm a stay-at-home dad, and Director of Music Ministries at a United Methodist Church in Mt. Juliet, TN. And a longtime fan of Sherlock Holmes.