Amongst its cast and director’s back catalogues are Iron Man, Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Wedding Crashers, Alfie, Body of Lies and Hancock.
And yet this eclectic mixture of talent comes together for a thoroughly enjoyable piece of cinema – superbly casted and well written.
The story follows Holmes and his accomplice Dr. John Watson, played superbly by Robert Downey Jnr. and Jude Law respectively, as they follow several murders committed by a mysterious and brilliantly creepy Mark Strong as Lord Blackwood.
The story pits Holmes’ methodical and logical detective work against the seemingly supernatural Blackwood, who escapes capture by Holmes and even death before using his dark arts to plot against a higher power.
The detective duo’s partnership works beautifully without edging towards stereotype or cliché, Downey Jnr. has said of playing Holmes that he likes the ‘weirdo’ in him, and that is conveyed in several scenes, no less when he plays the violin to co-ordinate a gang of flies.
These quirky moments are joined with pieces of humour and subtlety not necessarily seen in Ritchie’s films before, but are joined by some more familiar action sequences though these are well thought out and allow us to see inside Holmes’ brilliant mind.
The action slows and we are given a voiceover by Holmes’ that spells out his plan of attack, each stage is carried out, time rewinds back to the point of the narration beginning, and we see his plan carried out in full flow.
The device is clever and adds to the fight sequences detail that otherwise might overwhelm, along with the sprinkle of Holmes’ catchphrases and the few touches that make England in Holmes’ time so recognisable, the setting of the film is just right.
The story itself feels very Holmes, with nearly all of the revealing towards the film’s climax, and there is no Columbo reveal for the audience at the beginning so the viewer travels with Holmes and Watson as they unravel this seemingly unearthly villain to the summit of his megalomaniac scheme.
Guy Ritchie mentioned Batman Begins whilst making this film, in relation to how a franchise reboot should be, and although Holmes may not be as deep and dramatic as the Christopher Nolan work, this movie is on parity in terms of humour, performances and enjoyment.