Downey's Holmes Fun, If Not Faithful
Critics are mixed on action-hero update of hallowed detective
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 24, 2009 11:00 AM CST
Updated Dec 25, 2009 9:12 AM CST

(Newser) – Robert Downey Jr. and Guy Ritchie’s action-hero take on Sherlock Holmes will have purists scrambling for a calming pipe, but its target audience won’t be disappointed. Here’s what the critics are saying:

  • “The whole movie, in its popcorn way, is bumptiously extravagant,” writes Owen Gleiberman of EW. It’s “both numb and fun, enjoyable and exhausting.”

  • “The plot darts here, there, and everywhere like a hepped-up cocaine fiend,” says Stephanie Zacharek of Salon. But it’s hard to mind, because “because the actors seem to take so much pleasure in the act of giving us a crazy spectacle.”
  • “The less I thought about Sherlock Holmes, the more I liked Sherlock Holmes,” says decided enthusiast Roger Ebert. But action fans will love it, and "the great detective, who has survived so much, can certainly shrug off a few special effects."
  • Peter Travers is less forgiving. “Holmes scholars will cry their eyes out over this update from hell,” he writes in Rolling Stone. “Downey is irresistible. The movie, not so much.”