ROBERT DOWNEY JR. DOES SHERLOCK HOLMES

Published June 19, 2009

Now that Watchmen has come and gone (can’t wait for that Ultimate Cut DVD), and Star Trek is still boldly going where no Trek film has gone before (over $350 million worldwide and climbing), I’m left here in the middle of 2009 with not much to look forward to save James Cameron‘s Avatar in December. Transformers 2? I’ll see it, but my expectations are for more of the same. Although I must add here that the trailers for Zombieland and 2012 are, surprisingly, a wonder to behold.
Robert Downey Jr.
However, after seeing the trailer for the Guy Ritchie directed Sherlock Holmes, starring Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law as Holmes and Watson, I must say I am impressed. Some have criticized the trailer as being filled with far more Hollywood bombast than Arthur Conan Doyle ever intended for his cloaked sleuth, but I must disagree. Holmes, despite assumptions birthed by the 14 film adaptations starring Basil Rathbone in the 1940s, was, in addition to being a brilliant detective, also a chemist, violin player, swordsman, and boxer. This new adaptation looks to bring much visceral energy to the proceedings — certainly more than we’ve ever seen from previously stuffy and stodgy portrayals.
Jude Law
As some have noted, Downey does not wear Holmes’ traditional deerstalker in this. Yet purists will note that said headgear was entirely an invention of the film adaptations — Doyle never mentioned it. But this is a quibble. If Ritchie’s film can add at least as much intelligence and deductive reasoning as it looks to have heart-pounding thrills, this is bound to be one of the surprise hits of 2009. (Those who think these two attributes are mutually exclusive should check out Michael Crichton’s 1979 Victorian thriller The Great Train Robbery, starring Sean Connery and Donald Sutherland, posted in its entirety on this site.)

If this movie lives up to the promise of its trailer, Robert Downey Jr. may well have another franchise to attend to inbetween his stints as Iron Man. Considering what horrors he had to come through to get to this incredible second act of his career, he is also becoming an inspiration to millions. Go Robert.

Sherlock Holmes opens on Christmas Day 2009.