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Movie Review

Sherlock Holmes

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, some startling images and a scene of suggestive material.

Reviewed by: Raphael Vera

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Teens Adults
Action Adventure Crime Mystery Thriller Drama Adaptation
2 hr. 19 min.
Year of Release:
USA Release:
Decemeber 25, 2009 (wide—3,600+ theaters)
DVD: March 30, 2010
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About murder in the Bible

Lying in the Bible


What is the Occult? Answer

THE OCCULT—What does the Bible say about it? Answer

Featuring: Robert Downey Jr. (Sherlock Holmes), Jude Law (Dr. John Watson), Rachel McAdams (Irene Adler), Mark Strong (Lord Blackwood), Eddie Marsan (Inspector Lestrade), Robert Maillet (Dredger), Geraldine James (Mrs. Hudson), Kelly Reilly (Mary Morstan), William Houston (Constable Clark), more »
Director: Guy Ritchie
Producer: Lin Pictures, Silver Pictures, Translux, Village Roadshow Pictures, Wigram Productions, Bruce Berman, Steve Clark-Hall, Susan Downey, Peter Eskelsen, Dana Goldberg, Dan Lin, Joel Silver, Michael Tadross, Lionel Wigram
Distributor: Warner Bros. Pictures

“Nothing escapes him”

Also see, the sequel: Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (2011)

The film opens near the end of a case of Sherlock Holmes and Watson. During their infiltration of the villain’s hideout we see Holmes mentally planning an attack from start to finish and when it takes place exactly as described we marvel, and not for the last time, at the incredible intellect of Detective Sherlock Holmes.

Holmes, ably played by Robert Downey Jr., arrives in time to stop a human sacrifice by Lord Blackwood (Mark Strong) who is then thrown into prison to await his execution. His last request is to speak to Holmes whom Blackwood then taunts with promises of more murders which he says Holmes will be wholly unable to stop.

Blackwood’s threat seems hollow, as he soon meets the hangman’s noose, and Dr. Watson (Jude Law) pronounces him dead. But death proves no obstacle to Blackwood, as he later seemingly resurrects to continue murdering, while plotting the fall and rise of England and perhaps the world.

Director Guy Ritchie may have chosen to make a Sherlock Holmes that is more rugged and physical than fans of the original are used to seeing, but there are numerous similarities, and, at times, the film even pays homage to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s literary Sherlock Holmes. Watson has been redefined in Jude Law, but characters such as Inspector Lestrade (Eddie Marsan) and femme fetal Irene Adler (Rachel McAdams) are exactly as one would expect.

Robert Downey Jr. presents a new Holmes for a new time, yet keeps faithful to many of Sherlock’s idiosyncrasies—his intellectual prowess at making “grand assumptions out of little details” that invariably are correct, his grand ego at showing up the police while simultaneously refusing the fame by electing not to take credit, his concealing of evidence from the police because it is morally justifiable to do so, his unemotional exterior which gives way briefly when he believes Watson to be in a grave condition, his single-minded, all-consuming focus on a case followed by a lethargy that goes on for days, if not longer, when no “game is afoot,” and even his shooting the initials “VR,” Victoria Regina or Queen Victoria, as target practice during one of those lulls are all captured in Ritchie’s version.

Objectionable Content

The evil behind the violence is palpable in this film, even when not explicit. Lord Blackwood clearly practices witchcraft involving human sacrifice, which was thankfully interrupted. Possession was implied during this scene. He lives up to his promise to continue murdering after his death, including the boiling alive of one and the setting on fire of another. A corpse is seen with maggots already at work, and there is also the hanging of Lord Blackwood to consider.

Most disturbing was the satanic ritual enacted by Blackwood and unnecessarily reenacted later by Holmes in order to gain insight into his thinking and plans. This is inconsistent with the Holmes portrayed earlier, who could envision a whole string of events, as in his boxing bout, and its exact outcome before it occurs. This is but one of the holes in the script.

The Lord’s name is said on a few occasions and in a pleading sense as in “for God’s sake…” or as an expletive “Good God!” There are blatant scenes and quotes that can be considered blasphemous, as when Holmes sees the open grave of his supposedly resurrected opponent and remarks “And on the third day…,” which is a clear reference to the resurrection of the Son of God, or drawn on a wall along with other occult symbols are the initials “INRI,” which refers to the sign placed above the cross of Jesus by the Romans. Blackwood mentions the name of the “beast,” shortly before his execution, and based on the change in his countenance, I would suspect he has also been possessed to some degree.

The sexual innuendos were kept to a minimum, and the scene shown in the film’s trailers of an apparently semi-nude Holmes tied to a bed post is uncomfortably embarrassing, but not explicit and not related to any sexual romp; he was drugged and left tied up.


The concept of resurrection outside the coming of our Lord Jesus is a recurrent theme in many movies but the Word of God clearly explains to us that “…man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment” (Hebrews 9:27). Holmes does not believe in magic, and I should note Blackwood’s resurrection is satisfactorily explained later.

As believers we know that Lord Blackwood will come to a poor end, even if it were not shown in the film. “No immoral, impure or greedy person—such a man is an idolater—has any inheritance in the Kingdom of Christ and of God” (Ephesians 5:5), and in Romans 2:8 we are promised, “But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger.”

Since the fall (Genesis 3), Satan has used every angle to capture the hearts and minds of man away from God and usurp God’s position, from lying about God’s intentions to offering to help us find the divinity and power within ourselves. But we are clearly warned by God to stay away from occult practices. “Let no one be found among you who sacrifices his son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead” (Deuteronomy 18:10).

Sherlock Holmes was by all accounts a patriot and a seeker of justice, which are admirable qualities that carry with them a promise. As Jesus tells us, “Blessed are those who thirst for righteousness for they will be filled” (Matthew 5:6).

This is not your grandfather’s Sherlock Holmes, rather it is aimed at a teen and adult audience and lives up to its PG-13 rating. Younger children should not be taken to this movie, and if you bring your teens some discussion on the darker aspects and consequences of such rebellion to God is justified. “…Holmes” is a crowd pleasing film that should appeal to both those familiar and unfamiliar with the literary character. As noted, there are some inconsistencies and holes in the plot, purposefully confusing at times, but if you can stomach Blackwood and his partners’ heinous nature, then you should be able to enjoy this film.

Violence: Moderate / Profanity: Minor / Sex/Nudity: Minor

Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Comments below:
Positive—Overall, a most pleasing and well made movie! These are very different characterizations of the two parts we are familiar with. But this movie allows Sherlock and Watson to become deeper and 3-dimensional in their backgrounds. There are some truly interesting innovations where we can hear and see the thoughts and calculations of Sherlock just before they physically take place—and great fight scenes.

To quell rumors, I myself have great aversion to anything homosexual and assure you that such a picture is neither painted nor visible concerning Sherlock and Watson. These are simply to bachelors sharing a house, and having the type of true friendship that involves blood and sweat we cannot make room for in our modern shallow society. Both characters in this movie have female counterparts and interests.

There is an occult element throughout this movie, but as Sherlock proves—it is mere illusion and trickery. I noted no swear words and no sex—but lots of action, fast-paced thinking and well-depicted scummy city scenes of old London.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Joel Weber, age 37 (USA)
Positive—This movie was better than I expected. Sure, I had heard of negative reviews from co-workers, but I decided to give it a try myself. I wouldn’t say it was a great movie, but it was entertaining. Definitely not a movie for those under 13-there was a good amount of gun shots and fighting, but it’s a Sherlock Holmes movie, what else can one expect?

As for the witchcraft elements, it turns out differently in the end than what it appears to be in the beginning. The only scene that I would label “sexual” is the one scene where Sherlock is handcuffed naked to a bed. Everything that should be covered is covered. There is a comment said to the maid and the movie then moves on to the next scene. It was a quick scene that I found more embarrassing than anything. As for language, I don’t remember hearing a whole lot. Maybe 2 or 3 words maximum. I applaud the filmmakers for keeping this movie 95% clean. It was $5.00 well spent.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 3½
—Liz, age 23 (USA)
Positive—I am a Baptist minister. During the film, I really thought I would agree with this review. It seemed quite dark. It seemed full of real “spiritual darkness.” However, in the day and age of fakes, this movie turned out to be pretty good. All of the “hocus pocus” by Blackwood is fully explained later. He tricked all of his followers into believing he had magical powers and Holmes fully explained this. This is an extremely positive point that needs to be pointed out.

There are many in today’s world (even the “Christian” world) that have done many fake things and have been proven to be fake. This film explains that. I remember no cussing. I remember no bad sexual points. There is a little excessive drinking that I could have done without, but, it was far from a dominant theme. Let me say this. When you go, pay attention. Try to figure it out. All of the clues to this whole movie are given throughout and I missed them all because most movies don’t do this. This film was ingenious in that way. All of the clues are fully explained in the end.

This film is not offensive. It is a little “dark”, but, the “darkness” is proven to be a big fake at the end. That’s AT LEAST Average. But, I think it was “Better Than Average” due to the lack of other offensive material. Enjoy!!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Todd, age 37 (USA)
Positive—Exciting, engaging, believable! This is how I describe this movie. The acting was superb, the story well written, even the musical score was right on! The offensive content dealt with witchcraft and the occult, but as with life, evil can be felt everywhere. I appreciated the writers using the occult as the bad-guy’s tool to create fear in the people of the time-very believable. And, Sherlock, of course, gets to the bottom of the whole farce!

Robert Downey, Jr. and Jude Law were spot-on choices for these parts and pulled them off beautifully, adding their own unique spin on a well-known characters. The special effects were well-done and very believable. Never been a Guy Ritchie fan, but this sold me. Production and direction was top notch, and I look forward to the sequel!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Jennifer, age 39 (USA)
Positive—The much anticipated “Sherlock Holmes” movie from director Guy Ritchie is an enormously entertaining thrill ride destined to please fans of the short stories and novels written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Robert Downey Jr., Jude Law, Rachel McAdams and Mark Strong give powerful performances in what is clearly the first of a planned franchise (i.e., “Batman Begins”). The movie incorporates many of Holmes’ signature trademarks from the source materials, including two lines from two stories. While there is more action than in the stories, the movie never fails to please. ***SPOILER WARNING*** While the villain’s plot seems to revolve around a Satanic ritual and the occult, this eventually turns out not to be the case. ***SPOILER OVER***

The film even makes a reference to one or two Sherlock Holmes stories. The violence isn’t intense, there’s only one use of “Damn” and barely any sexual innuendo, which isn’t overt. The film should have been rated PG.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—D, age 23 (USA)
Positive—I enjoyed this movie immensely—an incredible adventure to experience, very well crafted. There wasn’t a single dull moment! However, despite its merits, one thing that has troubled me since seeing it is how the spiritual realm was ultimately debunked. You might even say that the film’s message turned subtly atheistic by the end. All things “supernatural” were discovered to be totally explained by science. It’s a perfect opportunity to talk to your teens about the spiritual realm being reality, not a hoax.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Mary Ann, age 48 (USA)
Positive—Sherlock Holmes brings to life a somewhat contemporary view of the character. I am a fanatical Sherlockian. I have read all of Conan Doyle’s stories and several written by other authors. I have seen many television shows and films that portray Holmes, and while this is not the best Holmes film, it certainly is one of them. As a fan of the series, I expected a Jeremy Brett or Basil Rathbone type character. These actors portrayed Holmes like he is in the books, more cold natured and very calculating. Robert Downey Jr. portrays him more like Ronald Howard of the 1950s. He is more, shall we say kooky, but very devious and definitely brilliant. While I prefer the Jeremy Brett type portrayal, I did enjoy Downey Jr.’s acting skills and his character portrayal.

Dr. John Watson is usually portrayed two ways. There is the somewhat old David Burke (Jeremy Brett’s Watson) or extremely bumbling Nigel Bruce (Basil’s Watson). However, Jude Law definitively portrayed Dr. Watson as he is in the stories. He is the same age as Holmes and definitely much more docile. His portrayal deserves (in my humble opinion) an Academy Award for playing Dr. Watson.

As for the story, it is an original that is not based on Doyle’s canon. It is very dark and grim with elements of the occult, exactly the type of case you would not expect from Sherlock Holmes, but it is brilliant. There elements from Holmes' storyline e.g., Watson’s bride-to-be Mary Morstan and Irene Adler (played by the very young Rachel McAdams). As a Christian I feel I should warn that while the language was very mild, the story is very sinister with some horrifying death scenes and some brutal violence. The villains dabble in the occult and Christ is not shown to be the escape from the occult. Once the story comes full circle, you will understand the perspective even if you disagree.

There is scene where you see Irene Adler’s bare backside and immediately afterwards, Holmes is handcuffed to a bed with nothing but a pillow to cover up. This scene is meant to be humorous and there is no actual nudity. All in all it is a fun mystery/action movie with some of the biggest and best talent you can find!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
Jacob Airey, age 21 (USA)
Positive—It’s difficult to comment on this movie without giving too much away but I will try my best. I enjoyed this move very much from purely an entertainment perspective. The dialogue was good, the acting was great and the characters interactions are very fun. Combined with plenty of action and a good filming style this is a fantastic movie.

Now from a Christian perspective… This movie deals heavily with the occult showing many satanic objects and discussing and performing rituals. As a Christian this is no laughing matter as there are serious powers in this world and showing things of this nature as entertainment can seriously damage a persons acceptance that fact. It may be easy for young Christians to think that demonic possession and power are either fairy tale magic or Old Testament stories when in reality these things are alive and well today throughout the world. So I caution viewers to remember this.

***SPOILER ALERT*** In the end we see that the character Lord Blackwood was merely exploiting the fact that such powers exist by pretending that those powers were at work here. As in all Sherlock Holmes stories there is nothing truly supernatural that takes place in this story. They are all clever tricks meant to deceive and spread fear. Of course Holmes sees past the act and figures out what is actually happening every step of the way. I think Holmes line toward the end of the movie holds great meaning for Christians and certainly sent a shiver down my spine. Holmes tells Blackwood that he should hope very dearly that there is nothing real behind the rituals he performed throughout the movie, because he carried them out perfectly. As a Christian it made me think of the spiritual consequences of witchcraft and how Blackwood had no idea what he had gotten himself into.

I did enjoy this movie but if you see it please remember that the rituals in this movie take on a whole different meaning when applied to the world in which we live.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Michael D., age 23 (USA)
Positive—I saw this movie in the theaters with my sister, both her and I really enjoyed it! …The acting is brilliant, good plot, nice script. There were a few swear words scattered here and there and there was one minor innuendo.

There were two parents in the theater with my sister and I who took their little boy to go see this movie (he was probably around 8 or 9). Though he didn’t get scared during the movie, my sister and I thought this was an unwise decision for these parents to make. This movie is rated PG-13 for a reason. Do not take a little child to see this movie; there is some violence in the movie that would scare them. Nothing bloody or anything, but it would scare a little kid. Please pay attention to the PG-13 rating; it’s rated PG-13 for a reason.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Sarah, age 19 (USA)
Positive—Much has already been said about Sherlock Holmes, so I’ll simply focus in on the issues that initially kept me from seeing it initially. After watching the previews and doing a little digging I was sad to say I wouldn’t be watching the new Sherlock Holmes, even though it looked like a great flick. Images of a convulsing woman levitating over a pentacle, which is a well-known symbol in satanism and witchcraft and the suggestion of a great deal of occult content didn’t sit well with me. Even reviews I’ve read of late mention the occult content and some Christian reviewers said they left the theater before the movie was over. This apparently was the key as an explanation at the end may have changed their minds. Two good friends of mine told me they had seen the movie and when I brought up the dark elements in the film they assured me it was actually nothing of the sort.

***SPOILER ALERT*** While I won’t give away the ending completely it may help to know a few things. In true Holmes style the film is complex and the plot takes many turns before it arrives at the end. It is here, as in the Holmes stories that Holmes takes a few brief minutes to neatly wrap everything up and solve the case.

It turns out that the nemesis of the film, Lord Blackwood, who appears to have risen from the dead and in possession of several occult powers is actually a very talented illusionist. Nothing is actually real. In the story a secret society who adhere to an ancient mystical belief system involving a sphinx control the government. Blackwood wants control of the society and in turn the government so he creates an elaborate series of illusions to make the public terrified of him and the members of the society believe he has magical powers. In the last few minutes we learn the seemingly possessed girl from the beginning of the movie (who doesn’t levitate in the actual film) was merely drugged.

Blackwood faked his hanging and the seemingly magical means he used to kill two members of the society are actually explained through chemistry. So in the end, there’s no magic at all. And even those who themselves practiced such dark arts, were themselves fooled and their rituals shown to be powerless.

That said, I will offer this. The pentacle (a five pointed star in a circle) is a very real occult symbol, and the rituals enacted have very real parallels to witchcraft and satanism. Anyone viewing the film needs to understand this, so there is an element of danger, I suppose, in exposing oneself to such imagery.

While God is infinitely more powerful than the things of darkness, those things are very real and exposing oneself to such things has dangerous repercussions. Other than that the majority of the film is clean. There is violence but it’s only against those who are themselves evil and violent and it’s not really gruesome. We see a body with a few maggots on it, we see a man burst into flames, and another man die non-violently in a tub of bubbling water. Even Blackwell’s hanging is not shown in detail.

There is one scene where Holmes is tied to a bed naked save for a pillow where it counts. The previews suggest something sexual has occurred but in reality he was simply drugged and tied to the bed. As always use discretion, and the film is by no means suitable for children or even young teens. It has some wonderful moments, witty dialogue, and stunning cinematography without the occult elements it would have been fantastic.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Taylor, age 28 (USA)
Positive—I fail to see what is offensive about a detective chasing a witch. There was very little offensive content in this movie—some language and brief, light sensuality. Unlike many popular films, witchcraft is portrayed as EVIL. This movie doesn’t tell the lie that there is good witchcraft and bad witchcraft; Lord Blackwood is hanged just for practicing witchcraft. None of the occult practices are explicitly shown. I don’t know what the review means when it says Holmes unnecessarily reenacts an occult ritual—he doesn’t reenact anything; he just reviews the whole evil plan so he can determine how to stop the villain’s next step.

***SPOILER*** At the end, you find out that none of the witchcraft was real; Lord Blackwood was just faking it to make himself look powerful. Some viewers may find this information helpful. ***END SPOILER***

All in all, this is a fantastic masterpiece that draws clear lines between good and evil. The main thing that impressed me was how witchcraft is portrayed as bad, not neutral (like many movies). None of the good guys use it. For these reasons, I’m excited to recommend this great movie!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
Gabriel Mohler, age 25 (USA)
Neutral—Nothing was said about how some movies do make a person want to read more about it. Especially with movies like Sherlock Holmes. But, in the book, he was a raging drug addict. Who knew? I wanted my Son to see it and read the books. I’m glad I looked in to that first! I usually like my kids to watch a movie then read the book so they know that books are amazing as well! Don’t get me wrong, graphics are also amazing. But the want to read the book offers negatives as well as the positives. Such in this case. It does however give the viewer more when the movie is over.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Jenn Peden, age 30 (USA)
Neutral—This movie is a state-of-the-art, big budget, modern Hollywood action fest. It also had no strong language that I recall, no sex scenes and two likable heroes. As such, I would recommend it to anyone looking for an entertaining movie to watch.

My biggest problem with this movie is the first sentence I wrote. The movie is not very true to the spirit of the Doyle stories. While Holmes is clearly portrayed as intellectual and brilliant, he is more so portrayed as an action hero. It’s like they took Sherlock Holmes, cranked the volume up to 10 and made a popcorn movie out of it. He even has a semi-love interest. And if there’s one thing I remember from those classic tales, it’s that Holmes never had even a passing interest in anything that would distract him or take away time or brain space from his singular passion for solving crimes and mysteries.

I did like Robert Downey’s characterization. He played Holmes as quirky, intense, enigmatic and interesting. Watson was different than the conventional colorless (or even dimwitted) interpretation, which isn’t necessarily bad. As with Holmes, he was just a bit too reliant on physical stunt work for my tastes. And I loved the sets and physical background of late 19th century London. They really made it look both gilded and ornate where appropriate and dark and dirty when needed. No expense was apparently spared in that department.

Overall, I recommend this movie, even for Christians. I would have preferred a plot without the occult elements, but I was happy with the resolution and none of that was glorified or portrayed as real. I just write this review mainly to warn longtime Holmes fans. To them I say that Jeremy Brett’s status is not in danger.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Jonathan, age 38 (USA)
Neutral—Everyone loves Robert Downey Jr. as Sherlock Holmes, he is…but that’s mostly because of the character, the persona of Sherlock Holmes elevate any actor to such heights UNLESS you are delighted the great performance of Jeremy Brett as Sherlock Holmes. Which is what happened to me, Jeremy Brett made Sherlock Holmes so perfect (check the clips on the net), that the actors seems just okay, nothing special. You have to forgive me for that, may be it’s a biased view, but what I couldn’t digest is making Sherlock Holmes an action hero and comic. And Irene Adler …no …definitely my type of Holmes movie…
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 3½
—Cyril Thomas, age 28 (UK)
Neutral—Ultimate rating: Offensive. Not for those weak in the faith. There were parts that I couldn’t watch as they were too evil. I do not recommend this for most. In many ways, however, this was a true story. Those behind the scenes who are pulling the strings of ours and other governments have a code they live by, and that is that they will be up front about what they are doing, and one of the ways in our era they do this is through “entertainment.” This movie was slightly about Sherlock Holmes, indeed, it was, and both actors actually did decent jobs portraying Holmes and Watson.

The real message, however, and it was a planned message, was that there is a secret society, headquartered in Britain who wanted to get America back under its control, since it had broken off and become independent, and that after the Civil War, this society began planting ideas and people into American culture to further those goals. In the fictional Sherlock Holmes' day, they perceived the time was now to “come out” of their hiding. You know these people today as the Masons, and will find that most of our presidents have belonged to this cultish order in one way or another. They are allied with and part of the upper echelon of the international banking system that is running things today.

In the movie, Blackwood, is seen practicing dark arts, arts which ultimately had no power in and of themselves (which was refreshing to learn at the end of the movie). He had it all set in the House of Lords so that all who would swear allegiance to him would be saved, but those who did not, would die (of being gassed). He had taken control of the police, of parliament, the printing houses, etc. Blackwood was “Their Man.” The man of sin. The man chosen by the dark society to rule not only Britain, and take control of it, but America, and the world. Does this sound familiar? Not ironically, of all the characters, it is Blackwood who is found quoting scripture. Mostly from Revelation, referring to himself as the beast. Ultimately, this false messiah attempt was a failure, thanks to the scrupulous work of Sherlock Holmes. Coming soon to a planet near you, in Non-Fiction: A secret society, some of whom practice dark arts, and who worship the god of forces, organizes events to direct the world into a crisis. A leader will step onto the scene. He wants to bring ‘peace’. He wants to bring ‘prosperity’. He wants to bring ‘safety’. He wants to bring, dare I say it, ‘change’. The world will flock to this man. This man though will not be as he seems. He will be the man of sin, and this time, the enemies of God will get it right, and their plans will succeed (at least for a time). They will establish a new order. A world order. A new world order. And, they will control the media, the police, the courts, religion, etc.

There will be no Sherlock Holmes to defeat this one. Evil will have its day. But then, when all is darkest, the clouds will break forth with brilliant light and one will emerge from the clouds, riding on a white horse, whose name is Faithful and True, who, having already defeated death, and will utterly destroy evil and sin. He shall reign forever and ever, and of His kingdom, there shall be no end. Even so, come quickly Yeshua (Jesus)! You can not defeat darkness with darkness as Sherlock attempted. (A house divided against itself cannot stand). There is only one Name by which a man can be saved. That Name has all power, all authority, all dominion. Yeshua broke the power of Satan when He died on the cross and rose from the dead. Blackwood’s death and resurrection was faked. Yeshua had many witnesses. There is victory in Messiah Yeshua. If anyone is thinking about life and death and have been toying with the idea of dark arts in seeking after power, do not go that way.

Even in this film, darkness has victory only for a short time. No, rather, there is power in the blood of the Lamb of God, Jesus, the Son of God, and he offers each person life, not death, not darkness. Choose life. Choose God! You can know the most amazing life there is to know by calling on the name of Yeshua (Jesus) and confessing Him as Lord.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Ben, age 39 (USA)
Negative—Good gravy, I think my head exploded from the chemistry lecture or the non-stop, rapid-fire British English. It’s not bad enough that you can’t understand half the words 'cause of the thick accents. No. You have to wade through a montage of chemicals, compounds, beryllium spheres, transwarp beamings, and photon torpedoes to make heads or tails of anything. IF, and that’s a hearty IF, you have to watch Sherlock Holmes, do so in the comfort of your own living room. There you can rewind and play subtitles to your merry heart’s content.

Seriously folks, I got no joy outta this film. What little was meant to be amusing really wasn’t. Most of the time—scratch that—the WHOLE time the actually sizable crowd of 12 or so sat in complete silence or utter disbelief—haven’t decided which. Probably the former since the dialogue coach might as well have been a newly resurrected Kurt Cobain. Trouble is folks, “Sherlock Holmes” is essentially 2 hours of a Scooby Dooby Doo episode gone wrong, horribly wrong, but none of us had the guts to bail. I know we all silently hoped for some vast improvement.

After all, “Sherlock Holmes” was advertised about as heavily as Night of the Museum 2 and Avatar was last year. It’s now March, three mos. after Sherlock debuted, and judging by everyone’s reaction—or lack of one—I’m gonna go out on a limb and say we think it stinks. The ending does tie everything together (re: the Scooby comment), but the wait to get there is virtually inexhaustible.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 3½
—Mega Tron, age 23 (USA)
Negative—Most of the comments here are going to talk about the demonic aspect (which I should note is explained at the conclusion of the film) but I would like to focus on something else: the fact that this movie might offend traditional fans of the literary figure on which it is “loosely” based. I saw this movie with my dad, who is not a devoted reader of the short stories and books like I am, but who has a fairly decent understanding of the “real” Sherlock Holmes. Walking out of the theater, his comment was, “I don’t know what that was, but it wasn’t Sherlock Holmes!” He’s right, it’s not.

This Holmes brawls in the street for money to pay his rent. He falls for the whiles and whims of a woman with whom it is implied he was once sexually involved. Frequently, he uses brawn rather than brains to defeat his adversaries. But it’s really the massive change made in his relationship with Watson that burned me the most—I didn’t like watching their constant mean-spirited bickering. It left me with the impression that they “tolerate” one another at best rather than being genuine friends—which was one of the nicer aspects in the stories, the fact that Holmes was logical and unemotional except in his fondness for his best friend. The content in this film is mild and as a crowd-pleasing film it is entertaining, but more traditional fans of the literary figures might not like the way their favorite characters have been manipulated into a “super hero duo.” This isn’t the Holmes and Watson I know and love… and that makes me sad.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Charity Bishop, age 26 (USA)
Negative—Some of the most disturbing parts of the film contain violence against women. Our salvation came through the body of a woman, and we must protect her and the portrayals of her in media. Also, the movie shows that black magic is just a hoax. Not so. The exposure to symbols and the curiosity that this movie attempts to provoke should not be taken lightly. On a good note, I must say that the Christian is revived in the glorious truth of the Holy Eucharist when watching this film. All magic of Earth is groping about for the true power of Christ in the Eucharist. I will leave the reader with a quote from Justin Martyr, one of the Fathers of the early church: “For we do not receive these things as common bread or common drink; but as Jesus Christ our Savior being incarnate by God’s Word took flesh and blood for our salvation, so also we have been taught that the food consecrated by the Word of prayer which comes from him, from which our flesh and blood are nourished by transformation, is the flesh and blood of that incarnate Jesus.”—First Apology, Ch. 66
My Ratings: Moral rating: Extremely Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Elizabeth, age 34 (USA)
Comments from young people
Neutral—I personally really enjoyed this movie. But, it was offensive, and I would advise not to bring young people to this movie. It did start out with witchcraft, and I turned to my friend and was like “Really?” But the film got a LOT better as it progressed. The witchcraft I disagreed with, but in the end… it said that everything was fake. And explained how this villain performed the strange acts. Although it was a good movie, and I would see it again, there were some things I didn’t like, and wouldn’t have brought anyone with us younger than 12 or 13.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Emily, age 13 (USA)
Positive—This was A cool, but offensive, and that’s not cool.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Joseph, age 12 (USA)
Positive—This movie was actually a lot better than I expected walking in. I was skeptical at first, after reading reviews posted earlier on this Web site. But I think that one thing in response to the Satanic rituals in the film that has not been mentioned explicitly is that those rituals are used by evil people in the film for evil purposes, and the line between light and darkness is VERY clear. The same can be said about many movies, and as darkness truly exists in the real world, it can’t be ignored. However it is fantastic when a movie draws a clear line and supports what is good and shows evil to be evil. This would be one such movie.

As for how it is as a movie, it’s a fun time. I watched it with my Dad, and we both walked out quite satisfied. It has a well-rounded plot, and lots of enjoyable moments along the way. It was clear that this brand new version was quite different from the Sherlock Holmes created on movie screens years ago, however, while I’m not familiar with the books myself, I have heard it said that director Guy Ritchie was hoping to bring out a new side of the Holmes character that was not displayed on the screen, but was still written about by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Either way, go in without such expectations, and you’ll have a fun time.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Joel Dugard, age 17 (Canada)
Negative—In short, I derived no enjoyment from this movie. For one, it was too dark. There was no real definition between good and evil, as the main antagonist (Blackwood) was portrayed as a deviant from yet another cult, which strangely appeared to be satanic in nature (a complete Satanic goat is portrayed within a book of their rituals, given to Holmes), though they are clearly portrayed as neutral, if not benign. While there was, in fact, complete explanation for every movement that Blackwood made, as well as why it was ritualistic, this is only given to the viewer in retrospect, and was disturbing to me the first (and likely only) time around.

Furthermore, the “reserved” and “high-class” image that Holmes is generally given within other adaptions is definitely destroyed, as he is shown to be a rather irresponsible, as well as somewhat arrogant individual. That being said, there is also a scene that while brief, is not something that would be expected, especially in this setting involving Holmes tied by his wrists to a bed, nude save for a pillow covering his crotch, which is implied to have the key to his cuffs beneath it. While it can be inferred that this was justified as a tactic to slow down Holmes, given the setting, the content of the scene still remains as well as the disturbing implications of how he was forced, or rather tricked, into such a position.

Furthermore, Holmes later performs one of the rituals as shown within the book, which was in retrospect, unneeded to be completed.

In short, this is far from what most people would traditionally expect from a movie involving holmes, and in my opinion, felt like an attempt to slap the franchise name on someone’s original idea, simply for popularity’s sake.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Matt, age 17 (USA)
Positive—I am utterly disappointed reading the comments of this movie. The negative comments seem to come from complete pessimists. They seem to focus all their energy on the negative spiritual content of this movie, completely ignoring the redemption at the end. Let me emphasize this, the movie does not encourage dark magic, and it does not make it seem real. Sherlock, who was played phenomenally by Robert Downey Jr., proves the villain wrong through Earthly science.

The characters do not blaspheme the Lord, and the movie shows a clear line between good and evil throughout the whole film.

I encourage you, reader, to see this movie! It will blow your mind! The effects, dialogue, and mood of the set completely throws you into 19th century England, and you’ll find yourself enticed in the plot.

Lastly, I want to express my disgust in someone’s reasoning to walk out. In a non-viewer comment (someone who walked out early), they encouraged for this movie to be avoided because they thought Sherlock was portrayed gay. He was not gay. That was a blind misconception. As Christians, I know that it’s hard to forgive people for their sins, whether it be criminal convicts or a homosexual. But we’re all sinners! We must not be blinded of our own sin, for the only judge is our Father in Heaven. No, I’m not gay, but I encourage the Christians of this world to not persecute sinners, where we all sin ourselves (For all sin and fall short of the glory of God). Robert Downey Jr., and Sherlock Holmes, are not gay, and this movie is worth a shot.

I really liked it. But I’m just a kid, who am I to be listened to? I don’t know. But please take my opinion of this movie, and actually consider my comments. Thank you.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Paul, age 14 (USA)
Positive—“Sherlock Holmes” is a relatively good action movie. There is hardly any objectionable content. It is one of the least offensive PG-13 movies I have ever seen. Although it isn’t one of my favorite movies, it is enjoyable, and I would say that anyone older than 7 could handle it.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Caleb, age 12 (USA)
Negative—…Yeah the effects were great, but the fact that they chose witchcraft as a subject is barbaric. I had rented this movie with my parents after reading the reviews on it. I was hoping for a good mystery, but what did I get? Not five minutes into the movie there was a possessed woman about to kill herself with a knife. For me this was a very bad start to a movie. Later, Watson and Sherlock were walking down the road and a palm reader showed up. There is, also, reference to pentagrams in the movie and spells. In one part Holmes sits in the middle of a pentagram and mixes together different ingredients into a powder. I had felt very nauseous and stopped the movie to reconsider watching the movie.

When we finished the movie I didn’t feel he had solved the mystery. …
My Ratings: Moral rating: Extremely Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 3
—Whitney Futrell, age 13 (USA)
Positive—I absolutely love this movie!! If you are a big fan of Robert Downey Jr., he will not disappoint you in this film! He portrays Sherlock Holmes very well. The only thing I found disturbing in the film was the “black-magic” that Blackwood uses. Even if they explain ***Spoiler Alert!!*** that it’s all fake, and every thing he does are all really magic tricks. ***End of Spoiler Alert***

It is definitely a movie for teens and up, probably not younger because some of the fighting scenes. I really enjoyed how well they made the film, and I think it will be a classic!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Sara, age 17 (USA)
Comments from non-viewers
We did not enjoy this movie at all and walked out. I have seen many Sherlock Holmes movies, read the books, and this is not Sherlock Holmes. There was so much satanic content in the movie as well as violence. Also, I picked up, ever so slight a hint, that Sherlock Holmes was gay in this film. In doing a little research on this I found that my observation was held by others, as well. I certainly would not take a young person to such a movie. It did open on Christmas day, but centered around satanic worship. Do not be mislead, this is not the Sir Conan Doyle version of Sherlock Holmes. That Sherlock Holmes had class and was indeed brilliant in solving crime. They should have named it something else.
—Terrie Martin, age 56 (USA)
I would warn you about seeing this movie. My children were very excited to see this movie, as they have read all of the Sherlock Holmes novels. This movie had great sets, wonderful costumes and the quick wit you would find in the Sherlock Holmes character. The acting also very good. The film starts out with a very demonic man that is terrorizing the town and has taken a women hostage and is performing a satanic ritual on her. He is quickly what seems to be put into the hands of justice by Mr. Holmes and the local police.

This character gets resurrected only to continue terrorizing the town all which he does through demonic mind control and witchcraft. I had no idea that the movies main theme would be the occult and that as the movie progressed would get more and more intense. The images of occults symbols, rituals and chanting were disturbing enough, but then the Sherlock Holmes character takes a spell book and other occult tools and uses them for witchcraft himself.

This is so far out of character for Sherlock and so far fetched from any of the actual stories, along with being totally offensive. We basically walked out of this movie along with several other believers who we did not know, quite disturbed. We were sadly disappointed that all of this great acting etc, was used in such a negative way. This movie had the opportunity to be really great. I am sorry to say is definitely not.
—Lisa, age 47 (USA)
I was not expecting a movie based on Sherlock Holmes to openly involve satanism and dark arts. I made it through almost an hour of this movie, and there were parts that horrified me. The evil was very realistic and palpable. There were strong implications that the villain fancied himself to be something he wasn’t. I did not appreciate a satanic person reading from the last book of the Bible. It was disrespectful and unnecessary. The implications were severe. This is not a movie for Christian audiences young or old, in my opinion.
—Diana Sanders, age 31 (USA)
This movie is a travesty. The half of the film that I watched was most disappointing. most people know nothing of the original Sherlock Holmes and therefore find this an exciting film like all the other “action packed” ridiculous and shallow Hollywood stupidity. I was shocked, either the director has no respect for the author’s original creation or doesn’t know who Sherlock Holmes was at all. All the characters presented themselves as the exact opposite of what they were supposed to be and the plot was boring, leaving nothing for the imagination. I wouldn’t recommend watching this. I’m quite sure Sir Arthur Conan Doyle would turn over in his grave if he could.
—Wise child, age young