Friday, June 15, 2012

Dear Charlie:

So I was finally able to watch the second Sherlock Holmes movie.

It took a full twenty-four hours to step back enough to write about it without the squee factor. Yes, I enjoyed it that much. I found the urban camouflage particularly priceless.

Honestly, they did so many things right with this flick that it's difficult not to just recap it ad nauseum. Hollywood has such a horrible reputation with sequels that I feared the worst even as I hoped for the best. Luckily, this one proved true. The characterizations were spot-on, the action classic and flashy without being ridiculous, the storyline just convoluted enough that I had to stop writing (yes, still on that writing jag and loving every minute of it) to pay attention so I could catch all the little nuances, and the music spectacular.

I now need to steep myself in some Don Giovanni. After this story's done. It seems to respond best to Celtic tunes, whether lilting or mournful. However, in a very short time, I will be downloading some Don Giovanni. I'm seriously.

Anyway, with a pleasant sort of surprise, I learned a great deal of respect for Dr. Watson's new bride. It would be so easy for them to make her an annoying character, someone Holmes can despise with impunity, but they don't. They make her not only likable and very much in love with her John, but also incredibly brave for a mere governess-turned-doctor's-wife. And clever.

I should have known she had backbone from how she tossed her wine in Holmes' face in the first movie, but when she holds a gun to a man's head, I believe she fully intends to shoot if he doesn't do as she says. Sure, she feels faint afterward, but hell. For a woman in that time period, she probably should have swooned tragically the moment she realized her new husband carried a gun at all.

As for the clever, she manages to put together the information Holmes sends her and participate in the great money transfer. Holmes knew that if he sent that information directly to Lestrade, nothing good would happen. He not only trusted Mary enough to give her the key to undoing his nemesis but knew her to be intelligent enough to understand and follow through with that knowledge.

If Sherlock Holmes, with all of his observational brilliance, sees and acknowledges her grit and worth, how can I not?

I'm so impressed that they wrote her this way (and that the actress pulls it off so perfectly). She's a strong, important, intelligent woman in a movie who isn't a butch or a bitch. She's a lady in every sense of the word, but that doesn't stop her from kicking some ass and dishing out a little snark while she's at it.

Irene Adler was good in her way, but in many ways, Mary Watson is her perfect foil -- bad girl to ministering angel, physically dangerous to dangerous wit.

Oh, and Holmes and Watson were good, too. I just figured you guys already knew that.

Okay, so I'm just really really really impressed with Mary's portrayal. So well done.

Anyway, this is definitely a keeper on the pride-of-place shelf, right next to the other one. In many ways, this one is superior, as it's no longer an origin story. However, in other ways, it makes me love the first one even more. In all, spectacularly well done on all parts.