There are dumbed-down remnants of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's famous detective in mainstream fare from CSI to The Da Vinci Code, but it's been awhile since Sherlock Holmes himself has popped up in pop culture. His latest big-screen incarnation is uneven but entertaining, coasting mostly on the charms of a resurgent Robert Downey Jr.

There are dumbed-down remnants of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's famous detective in mainstream fare from CSI to The Da Vinci Code, but it's been awhile since Sherlock Holmes himself has popped up in pop culture. His latest big-screen incarnation is uneven but entertaining, coasting mostly on the charms of a resurgent Robert Downey Jr.

We meet Holmes (Downey) and his loyal sidekick Dr. Watson (Jude Law) as they raid an apparent occult ritual (complete with human sacrifice). The cult leader is eventually hanged as a result, but not before he vows to return from the grave.

Also returning to Holmes' life is Irene Adler (Rachel McAdams), a former foil and flame who seems to be the only thing that leaves Holmes flustered.

With director Guy Ritchie at the helm, it should come as little surprise that there's as much emphasis (and too much slo-mo) placed on Holmes' apparent martial arts skills as on his knack for deductive reasoning. In fairness, no one pays to see a big-budget logic flick.

There's some of Downey's newfound action hero in Holmes, but there's also a quirkiness and manic physicality from the man who once played Chaplin. Law feeds off Downey's energy nicely, and there's much better chemistry in the Holmes-Watson pairing than there is between Holmes and McAdams, who's all but relegated to damsel-in-distress mode.

Sherlock Holmes isn't as brainy as its namesake, but it's fairly fun and shamelessly points to a sequel that ought to be even better.