I am a huge Sherlock Holmes fan and thought the new move rang true as an adaptation. The few notable divergences (Watson’s wife, Holmes’ boxing matches and his own love interest) seemed acceptable to me. The chemistry between Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law was excellent, which is all you really need for a good Holmes adaptation. Denby said it reminded him of a screwball comedy, which seems spot on to me. It’s the same thing that made the old Holmes movies with Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce work so well. The big difference between the old series and this one is that Rathbone took his part so seriously, which was probably appropriate for his time–most of those movies are thinly veiled WW2 propaganda pieces. This new one is much lighter, with RDJ/Law hamming it up at times.
I thought the evil Lord Blackwood’s (Mark Strong) “Di Vinci protocol” scheme was an excellent way to evoke the Victorian era and it’s relationship to magic and the supernatural. Besides Hounds of the Baskerville, I can’t really think of another Conan Doyle story that uses the supernatural in that way, but Holmes use of deduction and reason always looks best in contrast to a supernatural story.