Metascore
57

Mixed or average reviews - based on 34 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 17 out of 34
  2. Negative: 4 out of 34
  1. 67
    Here's hoping that younger members of the audience will seek out Conan Doyle's original stories to further explore Holmes' official amanuensis, Dr. John Watson, whose brilliant case studies regarding his friend, roommate, and fellow rationalist are the stuff dreams are made of.
  2. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    75
    It pleases me to report, then, that Downey brings his brain, his wit, and his gift for intelligent underplaying, even as he understands he has been hired to play Sherlock Holmes, action hero.
  3. 30
    The very idea of handing him over to professional lad Guy Ritchie (who directed Snatch, Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels), to be played as a punch-throwing quipster by Robert Downey Jr., is so profoundly stupid one can only step back in dismay.
  4. 75
    The less I thought about Sherlock Holmes, the more I liked "Sherlock Holmes." Yet another classic hero has been fed into the f/x mill, emerging as a modern superman.
  5. It's a serious drag to see how Ritchie has turned Holmes and Dr. Watson into a couple of garden-variety thugs.
  6. This is certainly the grubbiest Holmes in movie history.
  7. Reviewed by: William Thomas
    60
    A fun, action-packed reintroduction to Conan Doyle's classic characters. Part Two should provide more in the way of scope.
  8. Sherlock Holmes is an odd amalgam, a top-heavy light entertainment that keeps throwing things at you and doesn't seem too concerned with whether they stick.
  9. There's a mystery at the heart of Sherlock Holmes, and it's not the one the great master of detection has been called on to solve. It's how a film that has so many good things going for it has turned out to be solid but not spectacular.
  10. 50
    Not even Sherlock Holmes could make much sense out of the overplotted, murky mess that is "Sherlock Holmes," although Arthur Conan Doyle's legendarily brainy detective would probably never buy a ticket to a movie as elephant-footed as this one.
  11. Ritchie and company spend too much time being cute and not enough time being clever, resulting in a one-dimensional comic-book version of Doyle's detectives.
  12. Downey has a winning take on Holmes: He's always on.
  13. By now we’ve seen so many good, bad, and indifferent Sherlocks that it’s almost a relief to get something different, however wrongheaded. And there’s no such thing as too much Downey.
  14. 38
    Sherlock Holmes dumbs down a century-old synonym for intelligence with S&M gags, witless sarcasm, murky bombast and twirling action-hero moves that belong in a ninja flick.
  15. Reviewed by: Bob Mondello
    60
    In short, Ritchie's come up with precisely what you'd expect of him — a pumped-up, anachronistically modern Sherlock Holmes designed for the ADD crowd. Expect a sequel. Or six.
  16. With a clamorous soundtrack and a whirl of elaborate chases and busily choreographed fight scenes, this is Sherlock Holmes with Attention Deficit Disorder.
  17. 50
    Despite some arresting visual flourishes and Downey’s inherent likeability, it’s nearly incoherent both as cinema and as story. No, this isn’t your grandfather’s or your father’s Sherlock Holmes, but if theirs featured Basil Rathbone or Jeremy Brett in the lead, it was better by miles.
  18. Reviewed by: Nick Starkey
    75
    Hey, remember “fun”? If you’re sick of the apocalypse and tortured anti-heroes, then you need to see Sherlock Holmes. It’s a blast from start to finish.
  19. 63
    The reason Sherlock Holmes fails at least as often as it succeeds is because more effort and attention was lavished upon the concept than upon the script. Given a worthy story, Downey's Holmes might have been memorable. Here, he's an interesting character in search of a worthwhile story.
  20. 50
    Ritchie is all about the whooshing and headbanging, leaving no space between Holmes' words to savor their meaning. Downey is irresistible. The movie, not so much.
  21. 70
    Entertaining in a glossy, mindless way.
  22. Guy Ritchie is the worst screenwriter in the world, but, to be fair, he is not the worst director. He is only the worst director of the people who actually get to make movies.
  23. The result is only half as hip as hoped. Yes, this Holmes is leaner and meaner, and Watson (Jude Law) is nearly his equal. But there’s still something fussy about the result, as if bobbies had broken up the party at 11:59.
  24. 75
    This is very much a Sherlock Holmes movie for the blockbuster era.
  25. Guy Ritchie's Holmes reboot feels both too complicated and too elementary, dear Watson.
  26. Sherlock Holmes goes wrong in many ways except for one -- at the boxoffice.
  27. 70
    There are worse things than loutish, laddish cool, and as a series of poses and stunts, Sherlock Holmes is intermittently diverting.
  28. 70
    Challenged by Downey’s energy, Jude Law, who often seems aimless in his movies, comes fully up to speed. He’s virile and quick-witted, and his Watson, if not Holmes’s equal in brainpower, comes close to him in daring. Their repartee evokes the banter of lovers in a screwball comedy; they flirt outrageously but chastely.
  29. This is the ultimate sin of the film, generically helmed by lad-auteur Guy Ritchie: Logic seems to be thrown out the window in order to make room for clashes on a partially completed Tower Bridge. It’s way too elementary.
  30. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    63
    Sherlock Holmes has been reimagined with fighting skills as potent as his intellectual acumen.
  31. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    70
    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.
  32. 50
    As over-emphatic as one might expect from the ham-fisted Guy Ritchie, this resurrection of the world's most famous detective is a dank, noisy affair.
  33. The movie as a whole is clever, and conspicuously overwrought. But Mr. Downey's performance is elegantly wrought; he's as quick-witted as his legendary character, and blithely funny in the lovers' spats—all right, the mystery-lovers' spats—that Holmes keeps having with Jude Law's witty Dr. Watson.
  34. This "Holmes" is just about as silly as it awesome. At times, Ritchie and company try so hard to make sure this isn't your father's "Sherlock Holmes" that it comes across as, well, cartoonish.
User Score
7.4

Generally favorable reviews- based on 540 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 21 out of 192
  1. Sep 29, 2011
    8
    Guy Richie's "Sherlock Holmes" is a stupid interpretation where Sherlock Holmes is a muscle brute solving murders and mysteries with bulletGuy Richie's "Sherlock Holmes" is a stupid interpretation where Sherlock Holmes is a muscle brute solving murders and mysteries with bullet time and sheer luck. Surprisingly, the movie actually works great with its modern interpretation of Holmes. Full Review »
  2. Sep 6, 2010
    10
    I'm loving the reviews here, the stupidity within the statements: "It was too rational" and "It was too complicated and boring" are remindingI'm loving the reviews here, the stupidity within the statements: "It was too rational" and "It was too complicated and boring" are reminding me once again that most movie-goers prefer to have their hand held throughout an entire movie rather than use their deductive skills. Too rational? are you kidding? you actually need 'magic' to enjoy something? Sherlock Holmes is ALL about the mystery being solved, everything being presented and known. If you don't like that then why did you even bother to go watch? @the Sherlock Holmes purists, every other hero of some of the oldest stories in time have transitioned into numerous changes like this one(batman, being a man without powers, being a sort of detective on his own, was changed a lot over the years). The picture of however you imagined Sherlock to be might not be the same as the next person beside you. Its open to interpretation, unless you seek to extinguish everyone's creativity due to your close mindedness. The characters weren't empty, their relationship was fully realized (Sherlock and Watson, two detectives fighting over small, inconsequential things, Watson being tired of Sherlock's antics, and yet what unifies them is the mystery for the time being. Sherlock feeling stuck in his life, feeling as though he is being abandoned, trying to pull his old friend back into the game so he wont be the only one who's trapped and alone, his character develops from there but I wont spoil it) and it was very much apparent that they cared deeply about each other, but most would rather that their emotions surface in a much more obvious way. Its ridiculous to give this movie a bad review just because you didn't bother paying attention.

    As for the science and the technology in this movie, it wasn't a copout. All of this was at their disposal back then. Sherlock Holmes, whatever version you prefer of him, was above all else a man of science. Also it goes without saying that in the books and in the cartoon or live action series on tv, things did go slower and there was less action. However in movie format things have to be sped up a bit in order to fit everything in, otherwise the movie would wind up being 3-4 hours and coming wayyy over their estimated budget. Its impractical, and to say otherwise means most of you don't have a clear grasp on what making a movie entails, including the reviewers of these magazines. Besides it all works out in the end, and I found the pacing to be especially stimulating, kept me at attention the entire time.

    I understand that you have to pump out these reviews almost everyday, but it doesn't mean you have to rush them like this. Hating a movie like this one while its successful doesn't make you a good critic, it just makes an idiot, especially when you assume this was made for a younger generation or for the "ADD crowd". Branding them the ADD crowd while skipping over the fountain of medical terms used in the proper way(for once in a mainstream movie, no pseudo-science, no **** spells or rituals), the witty jokes and all of the deductions and experiments Holmes made all tied together in one neat conspiracy(Which given a little thought, wasn't all that complicated to those who said it was) just makes you look like your the one who deserves the label.

    Also what was mentioned was the exaggerated scenarios. They were pretty lucky to survive I will admit, but one thing I found realistic was the part when they lost a whole night's sleep after the fight. This is something I rarely see in movies, usually the fight is over, hero carries on like a good soldier. This humanized them, and it wasn't the only occasion in the movie where they did this.

    One last comment before I leave this review to those whom aren't as gullible as the rest, the hand to hand combat wasn't as uninspired as some claim it to be. While being as intelligent as Holmes with the reflexes he possessed, its not hard to observe the fact that every hit he made was calculated beforehand, as displayed in the very beginning of the movie. When he didn't have time to calculate his every movement he used things like the electricity conductor or chains or guns etc to gain an advantage. I honestly don't get how all of this could have been missed by so many reviewers, but that's fine. I hope that if you've read this you've decided to rent or buy this movie. Whatever you decide, its definitely worth the look.
    Full Review »
  3. Apr 19, 2012
    7
    Hmmmm. There are action sequences, plenty of one liners, and Robert Downey Jr. I can only deduce that this is another Hollywood box officeHmmmm. There are action sequences, plenty of one liners, and Robert Downey Jr. I can only deduce that this is another Hollywood box office smash. And silly old me, I just saw the film. My friends pestered me about this for the longest time. They loved the film, and were positive I would too. I told them I'd get around to it, until finally one of my friends lent me the movie to watch. My feelings about this unique film are a little mixed. The film wants to be clever, but very little smarts at all are needed to view this film. Naturally, this film is geared towards teenage boys, who for the most part, are not interested in an intellectually stimulating film. They just want to see Downey deliver witty lines, and watch him beat up thugs. So, if that's what you came to see, you will not be disappointed. However those wanting a more intelligent film, should not look here. Even when the Sherlock Holmes is explaining how he figured out the case at the end, it's through many clues that the viewer didn't have a chance of deciphering themselves, which is quite contradictory to what Sherlock Holmes is all about. I know the target audience, so I expected as much, but my mother who viewed the film with me, was quite irritated at the obscure clues. A good mystery should be tailored so that the audience can try to solve the mystery too (and make it hard enough, so that they can't figure it out). This film does nothing of the sort, instead, we merely learn at the end, that Sherlock had seen things that the camera never shows us, making it impossible to solve the mystery ourselves. But like I said, the target audience doesn't care about such things, so therefore, the film is oddly "smartless." But I digress. On the other hand, the cast does a fantastic job at portraying each of their characters, even if some lines were delivered a little hammy. Also, the musical score, composed by Hanz Zimmer, is very good, and absolutely hilarious. Music doesn't commonly make me smile (out of humor anyway), but this score did. Though many of the action sequences were rather ordinary, there were definitely a handful that kept me on the edge of my seat, and I'm sure the target audience will eat it up. The film is quite amusing, as one can expect with from the leading actor, but for some reason, the film wasn't quite as humorous as I was expecting. It was funny enough, anyway. Lastly, and this may be a major problem for some, but this film just doesn't feel like Sherlock Holmes. It feels like Robert Downey Jr. makes another million dollars. I suppose this is to be expected, but somehow, I was hoping that there might be some sort of Sherlock spirit to this, but alas, there was not. I was not wowed, but I most definitely enjoyed myself. I do wish, though, that the film was a bit more intelligent, and this film doesn't feel like Sherlock Holmes at all. Regardless, this is an enjoyable romp, and I'll probably catch the sequel on DVD. Consider me entertained, but not impressed. Full Review »