Robert Downey Jr. (RDJ) and Benedict Cumberbatch are known for taking on the heroic characters of Iron Man and Dr. Strange in the Marvel Universe. But while becoming superheroes, both actors also took on the role of the world’s greatest detective, Sherlock Holmes.
RDJ first took on the role in 2009 with Jude Law being Holmes crime solving partner Dr. John Watson. The first film’s plot involved the capture of Lord Blackwood (Mark Strong) who was heavily involved in the dark arts in London 1890. In the second film Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows premiered in 2011, Holmes takes on his notorious enemy Moriarty (Jared Harris). He’s set to reprise his role in a third installment, set to premiere in 2020.
Benedict Cumberbatch is the new-age Sherlock Holmes and still has the sociopathic tendencies the detective is known for. The crime drama television show on BBC originally aired in 2011 and lasted a total of 13 episodes for four seasons. Holmes is no detective without his partner Dr. John Watson, played by Martin Freeman. This take on Sherlock Holmes takes place in modern day London, solving various serial killer murders and ultimately facing his foe Moriarty.
The question is who plays a better Sherlock Holmes, Dr. Strange or Iron Man?
RDJ’s Sherlock Holmes takes place in a more apt 1890s London, but his character stays true to the original version. Throughout all films, RDJ plays Holmes in a more frazzled way yet does a spectacular job at encompassing the special abilities that Holmes is known for. The ability to deduct clues and situations faster than the average human is accurately portrayed. His rapid body movements and cold demeanor is also up to par!
Cumberbatch’s version of Sherlock Holmes takes on a different aspect. Being set in modern day London, Cumberbatch is able to use modern technology to enhance his character. This Holmes is more fashionable, always wearing a suit and overcoat that becomes his trademark. Cumberbatch’s version has more rapid speech and analyzation than RDJ’s. He also seems closed off, but shows more compassionate moments that almost seem human. This version is also more involved in the chase of finding the answers and murderers. Cumberbatch almost derives a euphoria from crime solving, as if it were a fun game. As Cumberbatch says in the show, he’s a ‘high functioning sociopath.’
Both renditions of the famous detective hold their own. Both encompass distinct versions of the character depending on the way they are represented. Cumberbatch’s is more fun and interesting to watch on an episodic forum and RDJ’s works well in film installments. But, Cumberbatch takes the cake in my opinion.
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Who’s the Better Sherlock Holmes: RDJ or Cumberbatch? Featured Image Credits: BBC and Warner Brothers