Sherlock Holmes stands out among fictional characters insofar as a staggering amount of actors have interpreted him on the stage and screen for over a hundred years. Holmes himself has been called numerous things: intellect, superhero, amateur, specialist, addict, liar, egomaniac, and most recently “a functional sociopath.” But has anyone really nailed it all? Which actors throughout the years have given us the best Sherlock Holmes?
Robert Downey Jr.
In 2009, Guy Ritchie decided to remind us that Holmes could handle himself in a fight as well as be an awesome intellect. Robert Downey Jr. then punched, kicked and shot his way through a pseudo-steampunk version of Sherlock Holmes. What irritated me about this movie actually had nothing to do with Downey Jr. Instead, the level of physical violence annoyed me. I get extremely tired of people telling me how “in the books Holmes fights people.” Let’s be serious, this doesn’t happen that often, and just because Holmes and Watson can take care of themselves in a dust-up doesn’t mean they are thugs. And in the Guy Ritchie movie, they’re thuggish.
BUT, this is not to say that Robert Downey Jr. isn’t a good Holmes. He’s actually great as Holmes. He combines the intellect with the insanity with such a smooth ease that sometimes you forget he’s the famous actor that he is. In terms of an actor who really shows how messy and screwed up Holmes is, Downey Jr. might be the best ever. This is closer to what Conan Doyle intended; a messy addict who happens to be more brilliant than everyone around him. The only problem I have with this Holmes is that he occupies a boring action-movie narrative. Both the character and Downey Jr.’s portrayal are better than this.
Do you want to know the other actors who played Sherlock Holmes? Do you already know?
Read all the article here: The Many Faces of Sherlock Holmes