Benedict or Robert Downey – Who is the better Sherlock?


Time and again, the work of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle has been recreated, and in particular, the tales of everyone’s darling genius- Sherlock Holmes. The man needs no introduction, his work is his identity.

221 B Baker Street, London: the go-to place for all the mysteries…Theft, threat, mass threat, murders- a lot has been inside that room and the fandom cherishes it all as adventures with the man himself and his best friend, Dr. John Watson. Together the workmates, roommates and best mates –come together to fight crime in the bustling city of London.

In the recent years, we have seen two Sherlocks- Robert Downey Junior’s Sherlock set in the vintage era of the 1800s, and Benedict Cumberbatch’s Sherlock set in the digital era. I have to admit that having seen the movies first, it was hard to knock off RDJ’s Sherlock, his soft eyes, and softer voice. For the first few episodes of the BBC Television series Sherlock, In fact, the first season, the idea of retelling the legend in a modern ambiance didn’t settle well.

However, both the actors did their own justice to the fiction of Sherlock, but who did it better, that is for you to decide! Here are some points for consideration though:

1 The different era of Sherlock

We had all been accustomed to seeing Sherlock Holmes in the London of the 19th century, a London that has bullock carts, chimneys, British vintage homes and Victorian vibes. Which is why RDJ’s Sherlock went smoothly in our hearts. The London of old times was a much-needed premise for Sherlock, it seemed. BBC decided to over-throw the hitherto.

Thus, Cumberbatch’s Sherlock was new. Cumberbatch’s Sherlock was tweeting, YouTubing and text messaging. The whole vintage essence was gone, and it felt like the makers had done a veil experiment. It felt like they took the “British” out of Sherlock.

Era of Sherlock

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We saw RDJ’s Sherlock making newspaper headlines, and then there was Benedict’s Sherlock as an internet sensation, all thanks to Dr. John Watson’s blog on their chronicles! However, what we forgot was the man in the shoes is Benedict Cumberbatch! This Sherlock was new, but this man’s performance was fresh for the conventional Sherlock. What was being concluded as a failed experiment soon got fandom anticipating for Sherlock’s next move. We were all on the edge of our mind palace’s chairs! But wait, there is more difference than this.

RDJ’s Sherlock

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2 Super hero v/s just a detective

The TV series Sherlock was not just a consulting detective; he was portrayed more like a superhero with the superpower of his wits. In the movies, we saw a detective who was wise yet struggling many times to deliver.

This made RDJ a more relatable Sherlock, but Cumberbatch a more powerful character. Cumberbatch made us feel for Sherlock!

The TV series Sherlock

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The movie’s Sherlock was smart, he could calculate the moves and the counter-moves well in advance. Remember that fight sequence?! But the TV show’s Sherlock was ahead here too. Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock Holmes was a walking human decoder, who could look at you and tell your deepest secrets with his ability to make words float (like how did he do that?).

3 Sherlock Holmes as a person insight

Another big difference was how the movies failed to explore the emotional aspect of Sherlock Holmes. Fans know that Holmes is a practical and observing man, but is there is a scope for emotion too? The BBC series explored this so called “high functioning sociopath”, and fans got an insight on why Sherlock is the man he is! As revealed in the last season of the show, Sherlock was quite an emotional baggage, with merely the defense of sharpness. We realized Sherlock is not a psychopath or a sociopath at all, instead he is a little cupcake who melts at the sight of trouble on his loved ones; and well the speech he gave at his best friend, John’s wedding…awe! Sometimes Sherlock was sugar, and other times bitter truth.

Sherlock Holmes as a person insight

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The main character struggling through his expression of emotions was quite a journey. The TV show gets an edge for bringing that to screen, but we must consider that a movie has a bigger time restraint than an episodic plot. Afterall, you can’t really express every tiny bit in 3 hours that you can over 4 seasons.

4 Dialogues

The dialogue delivery of Benedict was although a little fast yet women across the world believe it was orgasmic. His bland expressions and clever grin were on point for the portrayal of a genius indifferent man!

Also, this cake goes to the writers for giving the TV Sherlock edgy dialogues like:

sherlok dialogue

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RDJ despite being a man of dramatic words in Marvel universe couldn’t be tapped in Sherlock Holmes. We feel better dialogues might have changed the case.


Think about it, we can’t really recall any catchy words from the movies! However, think about Benedict and you know his word “game is afoot”.

5 Originality

However, we can’t even forget the betrayal of Cumberbatch’s Sherlock to the original character, but well we would say the makers and the actor improvised and made Sherlock more likable than ever before!

The actual Sherlock wasn’t supposed to be emotional, just a clever man, self-obsessed and overconfident! But imagine having a character with no heart and all brain, too narcissistic to be appealing! No version of Sherlock Holmes has been that cold, yet TV Sherlock was warm and he did make us all fall hard.

Cumberbatch’s Sherlock

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Still, we would give RDJ a plus here for being close to the original Sherlock without much improvisation; after all originality needs to be cut a slack, right! The movies also had Sherlock setting friendship goals with Watson but subtle, the way it was intended.

Over the years, the plot has changed, the sets, the London, the actors have changed-but one thing has remained same the Sherlock hat; and we think Cumberbatch complimented the hat like no one else. Always appreciate good fashion when you see it, particularly when it is Sherlock Holmes.

Sherlock Holmes london

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He made London crime free and hats cool! A true Sherlock must dawn that hat like a boss. So, here is another plus to Cumberbatch’s Sherlock and in our consideration, the vote count is high on one clear side.

So, we are totally Sherlocked by the actor with the complex name? Any guesses people? Why of course, it is Benefits Contradict?

Cumberbatch’s Sherlock

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Sorry for the typo…Benedict Cucumber patch? No sh!t, Sherlock!


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