Directed by Bill Condon
Opens July 17
About halfway through Bill Condon’s Mr. Holmes, the aging detective (Ian McKellen) visits a cinema and sees for the first time how his adventures have been adapted for the screen. As he watches the cheap melodrama unfold he scoffs at the quality of the storytelling, and one can’t help wondering how this incarnation of Sherlock would react to Robert Downey Jr.’s action-packed escapades or Benedict Cumberbatch’s near-robotic sleuthing—these two actors having redefined the iconic character for the 21st century. In comparison with slicker recent screen versions, Mr. Holmes initially comes off as laughably staid and old-fashioned, and something more suited to a Sunday evening TV slot than the big screen, but there is a depth and wisdom to be found behind the film’s doddery façade for the patient viewer.