Last night, I almost failed to make it through the most recent Sherlock Holmes movie (of the Robert Downey Jr./Jude Law/Guy Ritchie franchise). It was not only boring, it was irritating, so I walked away. But I was curious about why it irritated me, so went back to finish it.
Here's the problem: The original Sherlock Holmes in the Conan Doyle stories and the early British TV series with Jeremy Brett...
... was at a believable summit of the scope of human potential. He had powers of deduction. He was book-smart, science-smart, street-smart, performance/disguise-smart and was seductive because he seemed like something almost attainable with enough reading, discipline, exercise and other forms of human development. He understood convention thoroughly, but was unconventional enough to see beyond the bounds of conventionality and leverage them to his own ends.
He was something to aspire to.
But the new Sherlock Holmes is supernatural. He can read minds, control his environment down to the nanosecond, fight like a CGI monster. He's a superhero and, with apologies to Paul Constant, superheroes are boring. We can no more aspire to be this latest Sherlock Holmes than we can to be Spiderman.
Fortunately, the desire to learn, develop, and achieve (and solve mysteries) is evergreen. We will have a better adaptation of Sherlock Holmes. Or at least the old stories to read and shows to watch.