Another split decision: I loved it, Lisa didn’t.
I went in with low expectations. I don’t think of Sherlock Holmes as an action hero, and all the trailers made it seem like it was going to be a loud, dumb action movie with more explosions and fistfights than logical deductions. Which it is, but in a way I found endearing. I even liked the running “Holmes has killed the dog again” gag, because, hey, bulldogs are hilarious.
If I were going for a capsule description I’d call it House meets Batman Begins. House because even though the homage is supposed to run the other direction, this is the first Sherlock Holmes adaptation I’ve ever seen in which House Holmes jealously tries to sabotage Wilson’s Watson’s love life. Batman Begins because even though it’s not really an origin story, it’s clearly part one of a franchise, and the villain is some guy you never heard of while The Joker Professor Moriarty hangs in the background, waiting for his star turn in the sequel. Also, just like in Batman Begins, there’s lots of explosions and fistfights.
Another way of summing up the film would be with this quote from the Times review:
“…it’s Christmas, and the teenage boys in the house have fructose in their bloodstreams and time on their hands…”
Lisa, not being a sugar-addled teenage boy, didn’t get anything out of the fight sequences or the oh-God-Holmes-killed-the-bulldog-again* humor. And while there’s a fair amount of CGI on display, unlike Avatar, it’s all one shade, Victorian London Brown. No blue kitties. Lisa did like Robert Downey, Jr. and Jude Law, but felt they were playing themselves—Robert with a British accent, Jude with a mustache—rather than Holmes and Watson. She also felt that Downey didn’t have enough to do—if you’re going to use him to entice women into sitting through a boy movie, it’s apparently not enough to have him zap a French-speaking giant with a cattle prod. (Wow, that does sound idiotic, doesn’t it? But I laughed.)
We also split on the preview for the Benicio del Toro Wolfman—I thought it looked promising, Lisa didn’t. Ditto the Clash of the Titans remake. We are both looking forward to Iron Man 2, though I’m a little dubious about the Mickey Rourke villain.
*N.B., the dog never actually dies, it just plays dead.