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movie-sherlockholmes.jpgOf all the reviews out there, I found myself agreeing the most with a guy named Matt Bronson of creativeloafing.com, who wrote that “Sherlock Holmes” was “not a great film by any stretch of the imagination” but granted that “director Guy Ritchie’s full-speed-ahead effort still qualifies as decent holiday-season fare.”

That’s about what it was: decent. Not spectacular. Not even fantastic. And for me, that was the problem. When you’re talking about a legendary character such as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s “Sherlock Holmes,” you should expect more.

Imagine a “Batman” that was not a big deal. A “Superman” that wasn’t a blockbuster. A “Spiderman” that had nothing new to say. A “Harry Potter” that didn’t fully engage us.

All too often these days, movie promoters are leveraging the name brand of a famous character or idea and then reinventing it for a young, dumb, dialed-down audience for the sake of a big first weekend, some pretty big follow up weeks, a decent worldwide sales goal, and some semi-automatic DVD and cable revenues. Unfortunately, that formula can sometimes mean we don’t get a new show that really says something new.

Robert Downey, Jr., has something that marketers understand. They’ve stuck by him throughout his own personal challenges, his rebound from which is an inspiration in itself. It would have been nice for a new generation to be introduced to the genius, the uniqueness, the humble confidence and fortitude of the original Sherlock. Or, perhaps all of the above with some added touches.

But Downey is either so smart for the show that he was too smart for me, or he was asked to dial it down to fit a marketing machismo that sells but doesn’t inspire. The original Sherlock has so much more to offer, and today’s generation of young people could use some of it. This one was, well, just “elementary.”

Perhaps that’ll come next time. After $62 million in its initial weekend, I’m guessing there’ll be another.

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