Downey is brilliant, mercurial, edgy, charismatic, and well acquainted with addiction, so who better to play Holmes? He’s one of the few Yanks to achieve success as the British sleuth. Then again, his two Holmes movies, Sherlock Holmes (2009) and Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (2011), are pure Hollywood. Downey’s is the most physical of all Sherlocks; not only is he skilled at martial arts, but he also has a Terminator-like ability to calculate the physics of impending blows.
In a flip on the Rathbone-Bruce dynamic, Downey’s Holmes is the impish clown, while Jude Law’s Watson is the stuffy straight man. The plotting has been absurd, though at least Game of Shadows went back to Conan Doyle for a plot involving Moriarty (Jared Harris), the antagonists’ apparent fatal tumble into the Reichenbach Falls, and Holmes’ faked demise. It’s not clear when the inevitable third installment will be released, but the filmmakers had better hurry; in a few months, Downey will be as old as Christopher Plummer was when he shot Murder by Decree.
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