The movie, "Mr. Holmes" starring Ian McKellen, was a movie that I was not expecting, to be honest. Prior to seeing this movie, I had not seen a trailer for Mr. Holmes, nor did I even know of its existence. This movie took me by surprise, and I only went to see it on a friend's suggestion. My first thought was that this was the highly anticipated "one off" Sherlock Holmes movie featuring Benedict Cumberbatch released in between seasons 3 and 4 of the BBC show, but I remember that this movie is not supposed to come out until around Christmastime, and then it would only be in limited theaters. After a little more research, I found out that this was not the Benedict Cumberbatch movie that I was highly anticipating. Perhaps I should point out that this "research" was limited to scanning the movie posters in front of the movie theater. Nevertheless, I paid the price of admission, and gave this film a chance.
If you don't like spoilers, then do not continue reading this review.
"Mr. Holmes" with Ian McKellen as Sherlock Holmes
I will start out by saying that I was not disappointed by the movie, Mr. Holmes. I kind of guessed seeing Ian McKellen on the movie poster, that he would be playing an aged Sherlock Holmes. This much was correct.
But in the opening scenes of the movie, I could not stop thinking about how old he is, and how could this man play the character of Magneto in the X-Men franchise.
After I overcame the age of Ian McKellen, I then took on the challenge of accepting Sherlock Holmes as an elderly, dying man. In the movie, Mr. Holmes, Sherlock Holmes says that he is 94 years old at one point, and he looks as if he is at the end of his life in the movie.
A Sherlock Holmes without John Watson
In the present time in the movie, John Watson is dead. Sherlock Holmes mentions that John Watson died 3 years earlier, and they were estranged friends at that.
John Watson had moved in temporarily with Sherlock Holmes for a month to help him overcome the failure of Sherlock Holmes' last case, which left Sherlock in a state of depression.
Ian McKellen Presented a very Human Sherlock Holmes
In other takes and renditions of Sherlock Holmes (i.e. Benedict Cumberbatch, Jonny Lee Miller, Robert Downey Jr.), Sherlock is always perfect and almost untouchable. In the BBC television version, Benedict Cumberbatch rarely makes a mistake, and if he did, he wouldn't admit it.
However, in Mr. Holmes, Ian McKellen's Sherlock realizes that he did make a grave mistake. This mistake left his career as detective in a state of failure. He solved the case, and deduced that the woman wanted to take her own life to be with her two dead children. Once confronted, she poured out the poison on the ground, but wanted to be consoled by someone else that had experienced loneliness such as she has experienced. That someone was Sherlock Holmes. But he tells her to go home to her husband, who loves her. Instead she walks the train tracks and kills herself anyways. Sherlock Holmes carries this grief of failure with him into retirement, living in a cottage in England, left to tend to his bees.
A house cleaner and her son come to live with Sherlock, and Sherlock befriends the young boy, Roger, played by Milo Parker. Sherlock acts much like a grandfather to the boy, who takes interest in hearing more and more about Sherlock's stories.
The boy takes a big interest in the well-being of Sherlock's bees, and this leads to a life-threatening attack on his life when he attempted to help the bees from their attacker.
The movie did provide a satisfying mystery to be solved, as all Sherlock Holmes mediums should provide, and he solves the mystery in a very genius manner.
Overall, I liked this movie, and found it to be entertaining, even though I found it a very different take on Sherlock being so old and in his final days on the Earth.