Plot Summary: Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson must deduce how to foil the evil plans of a nemesis who wants to overthrow Parliament and rule England.
Reason for the Rating: Intense sequences of violence and action, some startling images and a scene of suggestive material.
Move over Basil Rathbone, there's a new Sherlock Holmes in town who's shaking things up a bit. He's thrown away the cape and double-brimmed detective hat for a bare chest and a pair of fists, and is taking on any case that comes his way. Truly, this is a new era for Sherlock Holmes, and this movie isn't out to stump anyone's intellect, but its goal is solely to entertain.
In this newest tale, we find Sherlock (Robert Downey, Jr) and Watson (Jude Law) at the end of an investigation, as they discover Lord Blackwood (Mark Strong) is the cause of several ritualistic murders. As this mystery ends, Sherlock finds himself bored and in the throws of depression. So when an ex-lover, Irene Adler (Rachel McAdams), appears tempting him into another missing person case, Sherlock can't tear himself away from the appeal. Is he interested because of Irene, or because it's something to challenge his mind? Well, maybe a little of both.
As Sherlock and Watson begin to investigate this disappearance, they quickly realize that it's connected to their previous case involving Lord Blackwood (who has since died and miraculously come back to life). Now Holmes must discover not only how Blackwood resurrected from the dead, but also how he is connected to their missing person.
All this may sound rather blasé, but as with any entertaining movie, that's just the beginning. There is so much more involved in the plot, that to explain it all would take pages. I'll just say that you need to stay awake as director Guy Ritchie takes you through all the details that get Holmes to his final conclusion. All the clues are introduced to the audience, but as most don't have a history in chemistry or witchcraft, we need Holmes to connect the dots.
As to the witchcraft, this is not a movie that glorifies evil or participation in anything of the sort. It is used to mystify and gain rule using murderous means, but is shown to be nothing more than tricks or slight of hand, and a heart that seeks only its own glory and power. Which is really a great opening to talk about the heart that seeks glorification of self vs a heart that seeks to glorify God.
What is especially fun about the movie, is watching Sherlock's mind work, as he takes you step by step through a fight he has yet to fight or deducing the life of someone he's just met. You realize that we miss so many details of life. We see the big picture, but many times miss the small things that make up a person. Sherlock sees it all, and ultimately, it's the thing that weighs heaviest on him. His mind is always working, and it keeps him from finding true joy in life. Unfortunate for Sherlock, but entertaining for the audience.
The "basic" DVD edition of this film doesn't include a lot of extras, but there the featurette "Sherlock Holmes: Reinvented" is interesting and should be worth the time if members of your family enjoy this film.
This movie is for pure entertainment. It goes non-stop from the moment the movie opens to the time it ends. Don't expect any great moment of inspiration, just sit back and enjoy the ride.
Let’s Talk About It
Use these questions to spark discussion among family members who are interested in this movie:
• If you could be excellent in one thing, what would it be? Explain.
• What are the things that give you joy in life?
• The ways we seek to gain power and lift up ourselves aren't as sinister as the means Lord Blackwood sought, but they are still for our own gain. How do you seek to lift up/glorify yourself, instead of God?
Note: All movie-related graphics in this column are standard publicity/promotional shots and are owned by their respective movie studios.