There's a lot to love about Mr. Holmes, the latest reimagining of Arthur Conan Doyle's super sleuth. Bill Condon makes up for his two-part Twilight finale by taking the immortal fictional character and presenting him as a frail old man losing his memory in forced exile, leading to a visually beautiful film that looks at the very nature of storytelling itself. But above all that, its single greatest strength is the casting of Ian McKellen. Without him the film would have still had the same introspective themes, but it wouldn't have had the same emotional grounding that sees it rise above a plot that, for all its semantics, isn't really up to those crafted by Doyle. The stage great's Holmes is, by design, totally different to all previous incarnations, a melding of the original Doyle character and the legend popular culture built him up to be, a conscious portmanteau of a character that McKellen sells as a real, psychological human being. This deftness is essential, because Mr. Holmes is only partially a Sherlock yarn. While the detective's near-mythical status is essential to each of the plot threads, as a whole the movie is dealing with old age as a broader concept, with failing memories and grief its real target.