The movie’s plot has a certain feel that’s similar to “Batman Begins”, where the story sets up the setting, the characters and uses an introduction villain (Ra's al Ghul) that serves to introduce what would be the series’ greatest villain (the Joker). However, this film’s introduction villain, is definitely no cheap push-over. Enter Lord Blackwood.
This English badass is Sherlock Holmes’ main enemy in the film. He leads a group of cultists who aims to create a new world order, using the dark arts and sorcery. This premise sets up an interesting setting of Science VS Magic. Where Sherlock uses the power of Logic, Science and Deductive Reasoning; his enemy uses the power of magic, the dark arts, and sorcery to do his bidding.
Played by Mark Strong, he simply owns the character. His portrayal of the character is smooth, dark and mysterious, that you can’t help but be seduced with his “black aura”. He’s the kind of villain that simply puts him in the same league as our hero, and not under him.
Sadly the same cannot be said of “The Woman” herself; Irene Adler. Portrayed by Rachel McAdams, she’s supposed to be “the woman” who captured the Sherlock’s interest and managed to outsmart him twice in the past. Take note of the word “SUPPOSED TO”… because in this film, she doesn’t even appear to be in the same league as Holmes. Far from it. She’s more or less a cut-out character made to be more of a prop in the background than a character. In fact, this picture nicely sums up what I feel about Rachel McAdams’ portrayal of Irene:
The whole film was simply dominated by Holmes and Watson’s greatness that Adler simply sits behind the back, instead of right beside them. She’s simply outclassed in almost every scene she’s in when Holmes & Watson are around. What’s also a missed opportunity, was developing Holmes & Adler’s relationship. There’s a part in the film where the director was gunning for the feeling of a bittersweet relationship of a love that’s not meant to be, but falls flat on execution. In fact, Eva Green (Vesper Lynd from Casino Royale) would have made a better Irene Adler than Rachel McAdams if only for her charisma and screen presence.