Young Sherlock Holmes Review

This film was interesting because I just don’t remember ever hearing about it, but clearly it must have been a fairly big deal back in the day. It’s Sherlock Holmes after all! If that isn’t enough to make this a really big household name then I don’t know what would be. The movie is part mystery to an extent but to be honest it’s more of a thriller all the way. It works out well though and while I could see some Holmes fans being a little disappointed, this was before he was a true detective so I’d say it works out fine. He gets to have one explosive adventure before things turn realistic again.

The movie introduces us to a younger Sherlock Holmes who is already widely known for his genius level intellect. The guy isn’t afraid to show it off either and is 100% confident in his abilities. Holmes has no need to be humble when he’s the best although he does tend to lose in fencing to professor Rathe. It’s the only thing in which he isn’t the best. Well, the quiet days are over when a mysterious group begins murdering people using powerful hallucinations. It’s as if the Scarecrow is around. Basically this dart that they hit people with makes them see their worst fears before dying. The body count is slowly starting to rise and when one of Holmes’ favorite teachers is bumped off it is time for him to act. Unfortunately he will have to do it while on the run since he has been kicked out of school. Can he pull this off or is it game over?

One thing you’ll notice right away is that the film is having a blast showing off all of its special effects. You have CGI dragons running around and lots of moving objects as part of the hallucinations. There is even a giant throne room like something out of Harry Potter for the villains’ hideout. It’s all very fantastical and so again it doesn’t feel like Sherlock Holmes but the visuals are still really fun to look at. I do feel like some of the deaths from the hallucinations were a bit convenient though like one guy stabbing himself and another jumping out the window. To an extent you have to know that the hallucinations aren’t real so you want to break through them but you have to know that certain actions will still hurt you in the real world.

The most tragic part of the film is definitely that the heroes are rather late to make a difference. For example, the villains have this whole human sacrifice thing going on and so they’ve been murdering people for a while. The heroes make it in time to see a woman get burned alive and they don’t end up saving her which was unfortunate. They only manage to save the main heroine and it’s just a rough way to go. It makes the police detective Lestrade look even worse because Holmes keeps trying to get the guy to help but he couldn’t care less. Usually he isn’t very helpful in these things but he may as well have been a complete villain in this case. He actively did his best to prevent Holmes and the others from helping out. If he wasn’t an established character in the mythos I would have assumed he was in on the take the whole time. That’s how absolutely corrupt the guy was.

At least you can always count on Holmes to be a really solid character. He did well analytically and this was also before he would get more emotionless so you actually get to see him get mad and put up a real fight. This version of Sherlock Holmes may lag behind the experienced one but the film does a good job of making him stand out and showing how he has changed over the years. Watson also gets to help out a bit here. Ultimately not a ton but his contributions are never forgotten and so he’s always an easy character to root for.

I wasn’t as impressed with the quirky Rupert. I felt like he was only here to help out with one particular invention for near the end but otherwise he just felt a bit out of place. At least professor Rathe was an expert fighter and had a lot of lore behind him. I rather enjoyed Rathe, now here was a character who contributed a lot to the plot and was also very interesting. He could actually hold his own against Holmes which is something that almost no other character could pull off.

Then there is Elizabeth who gets a decent sized role as the main heroine. She helps Holmes out when he’s in a pinch and can always be counted on to support him. Ultimately she does about as much as she possibly can during the course of the film. Holmes had a lot of enemies here so it was always good to have some allies. Watson was helpful too in his own way. Just like in the other films he always comes through when it counts even if he can’t follow Holmes on an intellectual level. He can pull off the physical feats that help make a big difference here.

I enjoyed the action a lot here and so this worked well as a prequel. In a lot of ways this felt like a Harry Potter film too but going at a lightning fast pace. I would have enjoyed staying at the school a little longer and you could have turned this into a whole movie series. The instant Holmes left the school though, it felt like the only logical step would be to pick up with him being an experienced expert. After all, that would be his big reunion with Watson and that would tie into the main novels. Feels like they left a lot of potential stories on the chopping block here by switching things up like that.

Overall, Young Sherlock Holmes is a pretty good movie. It’s an action film which pretty much plays things by the book so I wouldn’t expect anything crazy to happen here. The special effects go all in though and your attention will be captured the whole way through. There is a mystery here but for the most part that never really seems to be the focus. The answers just sort of appear as Holmes is fighting his way through all of the villains and that works out well enough as this is more of a thriller but it’s why I’d say you shouldn’t go into this one expecting a full blown mystery. It’s just not that kind of film so enjoy the action scenes and quality dialogue instead.

Overall 7/10


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