Read the reviews after the jump. The first reviews are in for Guy Ritchie's 'Sherlock Holmes' (which doesn't hit theaters until Christmas Day -- or, if you're in the U.K., Boxing Day), and critics agree that Robert Downey, Jr. makes for a dashing Victorian sleuth ... although Sir Aurthur Conan Doyle would be hard-pressed to recognize his most famous creation. "He turns the venerable deerstalker-capped and becaped figure into a gym-toned, half-deranged Holmes unlike any seen before," Variety says, adding, "Distractingly, for the time period, he sports a wild-haired, stubbled look that makes him resemble Al Pacino's kid brother." Another British paper compares this mussy-haired, fight-clubbing Holmes to "a rock-and-roll roué resembling a young Keith Richards."
The pairing of Jude Law's Watson with Holmes is mostly receiving raves, with The Times UK declaring, it's a "career-best" performance from Law. The Hollywood Reporter, however, feels that Downey and Law are so alike physically and temperamentally, that Downey need only only hand over Holmes' iconic pipe to trade roles.
Read on to see what else critics are saying about 'Sherlock Holmes.'
Variety: "A good number of Robert Downey Jr.'s 'Iron Man' fans will likely follow him here, as he turns the venerable deerstalker-capped and becaped figure into a gym-toned, half-deranged Holmes unlike any seen before. Although Downey's recent ascent to action-blockbuster topliner defines the nature of this new Holmes, the thesp's essential identity as a resourceful and vigorous character actor asserts itself up to a point. Distractingly, for the time period, he sports a wild-haired, stubbled look that makes him resemble Al Pacino's kid brother, and there are times when his well-accented Britspeak reaches such basso depths that his dialogue can't be fully understood. Ritchie has never worked on a scale anything approaching this before and, while some of the directorial affectations are distracting, he keeps the action humming."
The Hollywood Reporter: "Credit action uber-producer Joel Silver for recognizing that the only way to revive Sherlock Holmes for contemporary audiences is by turning him into Jason Bourne and hiring someone like Ritchie to overload the senses with chases, fights, effects, editing, bombastic noise and music ... Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law certainly don't fit previous castings, which is fine, only they're a little too much alike ... If Downey would hand his pipe to Law, they could switch roles from scene to scene ... Rachel McAdams and Kelly Reilly do well with thinly written roles, delivering enough energy and wit to give their few scenes a spark. Mark Strong makes a menacing presence -- something like a Bond villain, two dimensional yet memorable -- and Eddie Marsan has fun with Holmes' long-suffering Scotland Yard counterpart, Inspector Lestrade.
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More 'Sherlock Holmes' reviews from RottenTomatoes
The Guardian (UK): "High-end hack work. It could have been made by anyone ... Good news for those Holmes purists appalled by the prospect of literature's most cerebral sleuth getting a geezer makeover, but bad news for the rest of us: 'Sherlock Holmes' isn't even a magnificent mistake. It's just a film that makes you hanker after Ritchie's back catalogue. Holmes is played with boggle-eyed haminess by Robert Downey Jr while Jude Law is Watson – inspired casting at first glance: his weirdly boring aura superficially lending itself to the role. But they're both a pain: the former a cartoon with darting eyes rather than a brain, the latter just a blank. .. At least in the past Ritchie knew what he was making, even it wasn't always much good. This muddle of genres reflects a collapse of confidence in his ability to deliver anything."
The Times (UK): "Downey Jr. is terrific as the troubled eccentric Holmes. It's an ideal role for him and testament to his seemingly effortless ability that he eradicates the deerstalker and pipe image almost instantly. The surprise, though, is that Ritchie draws a career-best performance from Law ... However, a pleasing double act cannot carry an overlong film. After the botched jobs of 'Revolver' and 'RocknRolla' it is a relief to see Ritchie directing someone else's script. Sadly, it's not a very good one, ill advisedly building a bespoke Holmes story from scratch and coming up instead with Scooby Doo."
The Telegraph (UK): "Guy Ritchie has spent a reported $80 million on refashioning Arthur Conan Doyle's Holmes and Watson with verve, panache and, for him, relative restraint. It is undeniably a rollicking romp, an all-action blockbuster – but it could have gone a lot further over the top. Doubts about the casting of Downey in the title role are dispelled from the start. He is engaging and convincing within the role (the accent is spot-on), although whether this is a character Conan Doyle might have recognized is another matter. Ritchie has turned Holmes into a rock-and-roll roué resembling a young Keith Richards ... The pace rarely slackens throughout, the set pieces are explosive, the score relentlessly thunderous."