Including Ian McKellen's upcoming movie Mr. Holmes, in which he stars as an elderly Sherlock Holmes, there are currently four starkly different versions of Sherlock Holmes on the silver and small screen.
Holmes is a man that stands for wisdom and justice, and with such charismatic nuances and humor, it is no wonder he has stood the test of time. All four versions share the classic Holmes traits, from his nearly unnatural deductive skills down to his attentive wit. However, every actor colors the 19th century character with their own version of Holmes' unique British flair.
Mr. Holmes (2015)
The 2015 film shows us a Holmes who built his fame on the power of his mind, which he is slowly losing in old age. Critics praise Academy Award winning actor McKellen on his magnificent portrayal of the world famous detective who, at 92, is gradually losing the power of his mind. The elderly Holmes, divergently without a Watson counterpart, reminisces on his life as a detective and retells his struggles of his final case involving a beautiful woman that lead him to retirement. The story is rich in emotions with an understated suspense, subtly and wonderfully adapting the story of man that has been interpreted over ninety times in cinema and TV.
This is an American TV series that strayed from the original Holmes and Watson formula by switching Watson's gender to female Asian-American star, Lucy Liu. But it is Holmes himself who diverges more from the classic interpretation of the famous detective. Elementary focuses more on Holmes' drug addiction in the 21st century, in addition to him being fully involved in solving crime on a day to day basis instead of floating around sprouting his superiority over the modern ways of life.
Benedict Cumberbatch's starring role as Sherlock Holmes in British crime drama Sherlock has reignited the world's love for the highly strung, famous detective. With Martin Freeman by his side as Dr. John Watson, the duo's amazing chemistry plays a large part in the popularity of the TV series that conveys the 19th century character in our modern setting. With loads of humor, fun and intriguing crime mysteries, the British series is bringing back the wave of Sherlock Holmes in a big way.
Sherlock Holmes (2009) and Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (2011)
Robert Downey Jr. returned to the big screen as 19th century Sherlock Holmes. Joined by Jude Law as Watson and Rachel McAdams as Irene Adler, the amazing cast and beautiful cinematography successfully introduced an erratic and action hero Holmes to a new generation of viewers. The 2009 film and the 2011 sequel showcase RDJ adding a greater energy with high levels of wit and quirkiness to the eccentric detective. The films were commercially successful and have had the fans begging for more since their release. Sounds like Robert Downey Jr. needs to get out of those red and yellow metal suits and put on the Sherlock Holmes hat again!