In similar fashion, I haven't seen Guy Ritchie's SHERLOCK films out of principle. Even though I've been a Downey fan since IRON MAN, and I've usually enjoyed Jude Law as well as Ritchie's films, there comes a point where classic characters and their situations are getting warped beyond belief just for the sake of coolness and/or popularity. I've no desire to see Holmes become Action Hero #448 with MATRIX-style action. Good film or not, I don't see much source material left.
The first Downey movie does its own thing. It's a "Holmes vs. the supernatural" in the vein of The Hound of the Baskervilles
The second film, Game of Shadows
, though, is a solidly entertaining expansion of "The Final Problem" and it has what is undoubtedly the version of the Reichenbach Falls incident ever committed to film. Yes, it's done, like the first film, with a modern visual and narrative style, but the story
is in the right place.
There's a lot about both of the Downey films that makes me think, "Hey, this is the Jeremy Brett series, done for today and with a budget."
as Holmes is compelling. (He doesn't look
the part, but for that matter, neither does Benedict Cumberbatch.) He does amplify one aspect of Holmes' characterization -- the manic cocaine addict of the early stories -- but otherwise he's not far removed from Jeremy Brett whose Holmes, though often sedate, was prone to manic outbursts. If Downey falls outside of previous characterizations, it's that his Holmes is more physically active than that of other actors, and he tends to get the snot beaten out of him. And yet none of that that's uncanonical; Doyle's Holmes was a boxing champion and a crack shot, and mixing it up with ruffians was something that he did.
While I know what I would do for a third Downey film (basically, mash "The Empty House" and "The Bruce-Partington Plans" together; the former because it follows "The Final Problem," the latter because it's a logical extension of the events of A Game of Shadows
), I really think I'd like to see Downey try and do a sedate Holmes, with scenes in the sitting room of 221B Baker Street, clients upon the stair, Holmes consulting
and solving trifling affairs (like purloined letters) without even leaving his chair.