This is the classiest pic that Guy Rich-Tea has ever made.
This is the wannabe geezer in mainstream, family territory for the first time and you know what, it suits the ex-Mr Madge. By reigning in the traits that made his name - but which soon became cliches - but by still using his sharp eye for a slick moment, he's created a great action movie. It's got an Indiana Jones feel to it, that kind of old-skool caper. A romp. The sequel potential is massive - and I actually hope there is one.
Sure, this has got some of Guy's trademark flash - fast cuts, replaying scenes from different points-of-view - but it's not showy. Of course, he gets a bit 'cockerney' too but then, this is set in Victorian London. You expect a few Dickensian wideboys, guv'nor.
In fact, the London setting rocks - all street urchins and dirty sewers. It's still like that where I live, actually. The city is really used to serve the mystery that Holmes has to solve, a tale of political greed and eerie black magic, centred on the creepy Lord Blackwood (Mark Strong) and his attempts to overthrow the British government.
Most importantly though, Robert Downey Jnr (as Holmes) has created a character that could run and run. He's not the most obviously likable bloke but RDJ's eccentricity makes his self-obsession more palatable. He's just really funny, odd, different. Jude Law's Dr Watson might not be quite so characterful but it's a nice touch that he's been turned in to a gambler. Rachel McAdams **sigh** meanwhile plays eye candy Irene with serious attitude. No-one is just a flat cut-out.
There are occasional giveaways that this had multiple writers and (allegedly) re-shoots and cuts. Sometimes there's just too much going on. But as a reboot it works - Holmes' appeal hasn't diminished, only gotten more enjoyably quirky, especially up against the blandness of, say, Tom Hanks' Dr Robert Langdon. Holmes can also kick ass, as you'll see a in great bareknuckle boxing scene. Come on, this is from the guy that made Snatch. You gotta see a bit of 'claret'.
It's out 26th December.