The new incarnation of Holmes by Robert Downie Jr is fascinating. His relationship with Watson (played by Jude Law) continues that enduring Holmesian ‘is he, isn’t he’ gay frisson which is suitably mashed up with the introduction of female love interests on both sides (Law’s played demurely – dully actually – by Kelly Reilly and Holmes’ rather better by Rachel McAdams).
Central to the film’s success is Law and Downie Jr who really make you believe there is life in this as a new franchise. Both (yes even Law) are excellent. And especially when they are onscreen together they are great; carrying off the dialogue knowingly and often laugh out loud funnily.
It’s a great smorgasbrod of action, humour and special effects with enough Holmsian explanation of who did what and why to keep the interest up.
The set needs special mention as a London in which Tower Bridge is under construction plays a character role. It’s really quite beguiling, and although much CAD is used it works.
The effect of a ship (also under construction) being set loose down a slipway is eye boggling and the use of lots of flying objects heading for the camera genuinely makes you duck (so who needs 3D then?)
Now for the bad news. It’s long, way too long. And the story is pretty silly really. I won’t bore you with the details here. The oft used metaphor of a raven of death marking character obliteration is naff (first year film school).
But overall I give it a healthy 7.5 out of 10. (The scene in the boxing booth justifies entry alone.)
Good honest entertainment.