Sherlock Holmes (2009): ** 1/2 (out of 4)
The trailer for Sherlock Holmes was one of the worst short pieces of video that I had ever seen. Its fundamental flaw was playing up the Victorian/Modern juxtaposition - fistfights! firearms! explosions! tasers! - without allowing enough context to actually make that interesting. Instead, the viewer got the (strong) impression that they were just throwing a bunch of stuff at the screen, and looking to see what stuck with the audience. The only hope I had for the movie was that most of those scenes would be left out by the director because... well, I'm not sure. It's not like I'm the target audience...
Anyway, none of it was left out. But in context, it worked out a whole lot better than the trailers had led me to believe. It still wasn't good, but it was worth watching, and certainly it was fun. And that's a start.
That said, what I really want to talk about is the Sherlock Holmes elements.
Many of the objections that I had to the trailer were, fundamentally, problems with the idea of mixing certain concepts into the character of Holmes. Since when is physical violence a strong element of the Master Detective's repertoire? Well, the answer is "since Guy Ritchie took over". It worked in the context of his direction style, it worked in the context of the actors chosen (who did a fine job), and it worked in the context of a need to still overshadow Watson in a newly action-y pairing. The violence became part of the point, and that turned out to be okay, if not great.
On the other hand, where did this fit into the mythos? Without getting into spoilers, this seemed to occur both early in Holmes' career (based on characters met), and after the stories (based on Watson's moving out and on with his life). While they were certainly going for a new mythos - something that they could make a franchise out of - it was still a bit confusing for this casual acquaintance of the original stories. I would have preferred one or the other.
And the story... was kindof Holmes-y. There were the right number of "supernatural" elements. The deductive work was pretty reasonable. The mysteries weren't, for the most part, cheats, which is a good sign. And while the story may have been a little bit more momentous than perhaps necessary, it was still something that could mostly have fit in. Mostly.
Anyway. I feel like I'm rambling, because that's how I felt coming out of the movie. I didn't feel ripped-off; that's good enough sometimes.