Missing the point with Guy Ritchie's Sherlock Holmes — like Rambo with poetry

My Dad watched the latest version of Sherlock Holmes (the one with Robert Downey Jr. in it) and observed that Guy Ritchie missed the whole point of the novels: Holmes doesn’t solve crimes by kicking ass; he solves them by being smarter than everyone else and noticing things. Holmes is fundamentally cerebral, which made and makes him different. My Dad’s observation: it’s like having Rambo recite poetry. The change completely defeats the point of the character.

The IMDB blurb says, “Detective Sherlock Holmes and his stalwart partner Watson engage in a battle of wits and brawn with a nemesis whose plot is a threat to all of England” (emphasis added). When the brawn outweighs the wits, you’ve done something fundamentally wrong.

3 responses

  1. Like having Rambo recite poetry . . . defeats the point of the character.

    Are you serious? The character is (partly) named after a poet, in a pun that escapes most intellectuals who underestimate exactly how pretentious the screenwriters of banal Hollywood blockbusters can be. And actually it would be *awesome* if Rambo were to recite poetry — French poetry, no less — because it would mean that the writers were following through on the implicit promise in the pun.

    Also it would be hilarious. Which would *also* be in keeping with the movies, which in retrospect are actually more camp than straight, closer to Hot Shots! Part Deux than Apocalypse Now.

    Also re: Holmes, the Ritchie film was, I think, rather clever about portraying Holmes as a fighter who wins by quickly observing and exploiting his opponents’ weaknesses. Also Holmes’s martial prowess is a *revival* of an aspect of the literary character that has been largely forgotten because nobody reads the original stories anymore. Holmes was always portrayed as an accomplished boxer, etc.; more here:



  2. Granted it’s mentioned that Holmes is a good boxer and is physically powerful, but the stories don’t exactly run on either of these characteristics.
    It was rather disappointing to see him solving a crime one action scene at a time.
    O, and *SPOILERS*, it turn out the bad guy wasn’t actually using magic. How unexpected.

    Watson was nice though.


  3. My Dad watched the latest version of Sherlock Holmes (the one with Robert Downey Jr. in it) and observed that Guy Ritchie missed the whole point of the novels

    Clearly, Guy Ritchie did not intend to reproduce the character from the novels. Nor was he under any obligation to do so. His film offers a reimagining of the classic character. Don’t we already have a sufficient number of adaptations that are more faithful? I enjoyed Ritchie’s film.


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