“Singularity is almost invariably a clue.” — Sherlock Holmes
The game’s afoot! And who but Hunter himself is better equipped to find the first non-anonymous review, from Katey Rich at CinemeBlend:
It’s become a central truth of American filmmaking that audiences will watch Robert Downey Jr. doing pretty much anything, and when he’s having as much fun as he is as the magnetic center of Sherlock Holmes, there’s no choice but to be swept along for the ride. Effectively remaking the original Pirates of the Caribbean as a Victorian London caper, Guy Ritchie combines his kinetic direction with the limitless charms of Downey Jr and Jude Law to come up with terrific entertainment that’s equal parts brains and brawn, American recklessness and English manners. In short, it’s a blast…
Then again, all that Ritchie noodling works great in Holmes’s investigation scenes, allowing him visual flashbacks to all the clues that led him to his conclusions and avoiding the dreadful slowness that comes with most mystery-solving monologues. Miraculously the audience is right there with Holmes even during his most out-there epiphanies, and the equally out-there camerawork pays off well in making this period piece feel unstuffy, but also not gimmicky.
And yet, when Ritchie holds the camera relatively still, letting all of the actors play off each other, there’s nothing better. Eddie Marsan is hilarious as the frustrated Inspector Lestrade, and Strong’s Blackwood makes for a great intellectual equal against Holmes, but when Downey Jr. and Law are together the screen lights up so brightly it could catch fire. Bantering like Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell or trading off punches in a fight, the two actors have rarely looked so self-assured or in synch with an onscreen partner.
Another vote of approval from Gabe Leibowitz at Film and Felt:
At last, Guy Ritchie has found the perfect vessel for his sugar-rush, hyper-kinetic style of filmmaking. The director of the hit-or-miss Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch‚Äîas well as the supposedly unwatchable Swept Away, unseen by me‚Äîabsolutely nails Sherlock Holmes, staying true to the classic Arthur Conan Doyle characters in spirit while imbuing them and the film with his ADD-eque energy and unique style. And really, what better fit for Ritchie than an opium-addicted, violin-strumming genius who‚Äôs incapable of sitting still for more than a moment at a time? Riding a lights-out performance by Robert Downey Jr. as Holmes and an outstanding supporting turn from Jude Law as Watson, Ritchie steps on the pedal from the opening shots and doesn‚Äôt take his foot off the gas until the credits wrap up. Aside from perhaps Inglorious Basterds, which is an entirely different sort of picture, Sherlock Holmes is the most entertaining movie of the year. It pulsates with energy, vim and vigor.