It’s time to look at the next Sherlock Holmes installment! Once again he is busy trying to help the world during World War II. As with the last film this one isn’t a traditional mystery as a result and plays out more like a thriller. You aren’t going to be given a list of suspects and then watch Holmes try to nab the culprit. The mystery here is simply finding out what Moriarty plans to do and why Tobel is so unintelligent despite being touted as a genius.
The film starts off with this Tobel character deciding to give his new invention to Britain. It is a new kind of bomb which is highly effective for Air Strikes. Over 10x better than the current option so naturally the government can’t wait to get it. The problem is that someone is after his life so Sherlock Holmes is in charge of guarding him. Making this even more difficult is the fact that Tobel isn’t keen on co-operating. In fact, he’s come to the country just to troll Britain as he won’t let them learn anything about the weapon. Tensions run high and Holmes might have to accept that he is being played once again.
I do have to say that this film did a better job of handling the rivalry with Holmes and Moriarty than the last time. For starters, it’s more of an even battle this time. Moriarty wins round 1 by getting to Tobel first and also securing the first 3 inventors. Holmes then strikes back in round 2 by cracking the final puzzle first and also for locating Moriarty’s stronghold twice. Holmes certainly has some very solid costumes up his sleeve. Of course Moriarty is able to figure them out, but he is a genius so it’s not like they were ever supposed to fool him. They just gave Holmes a good way to buy some time. The banter between the two characters is definitely on point as always.
Holmes never loses his confidence, but I do have to say that his plans are mighty risky. Quite a few of them revolve around waiting for other characters to come to his rescue. Watson can be reasonably trust worthy, but with the stakes this high I’m not sure I would gamble on him. Still, Holmes definitely lives up to his reputation in this film. Moriarty also still looked good. He may not have won the mental battle quite as well as the last time, but keeping it even with Holmes is still really good.
Meanwhile, Watson looks pretty solid so you feel bad for him when he messes up. In the beginning of the film he is quite ready when the two villains break in and even has his gun out. Unfortunately it just turned out to be Holmes in a disguise. Watson talks back to everybody in this film. The only scene where he really did look bad was when he fell asleep and allowed Tobel to escape. I can’t really make any excuses for him there. He was critical to saving Holmes twice though so he deserves some credit for that. His rivalry with the Police Chief is also a nice mirror to Holmes and Moriarty. All told, Watson definitely fulfills his role as the fighter quite well.
The Police Chief is quite good as I mentioned. He is supremely confident in his task force and while he defers to Holmes on the criminal matters, he keeps his dignity while doing so. Then there is Tobel who is the worst character in the film. His plan doesn’t make any sense at all. Holmes is guarding him free of charge, but then he breaks away to head home and write a letter telling Holmes the secret location of the 4 scientists? Why not tell Holmes in person? If he couldn’t trust Holmes, then why send the letter to him afterwards? I suppose he was desperate by that point, but there wasn’t even much of a point to keeping the invention a secret. It felt like he was playing cat and mouse with the government. The guy seemed like he just wanted to feel high and mighty compared to the others and there was nothing likable about him. If he had simply been a little nicer he would have spared himself a great deal of pain and time.
As expected the writing is very good here. All of the characters sound like they know what they are doing and certainly are smarter than the average underlings. Even Holmes has to back off after one of them takes out a knife, but fortunately Holmes had one as well. The film also has some nice humor moments as characters make sarcastic one liners. The quick pacing of the humor is really what sells it as opposed to dragging a joke out forever. The pacing is quite good, but that’s not really a surprise when you consider that this film is barely over an hour. The Holmes titles so far have definitely been quite short, but they always manage to cram in a good amount of story. I’d expect nothing less.
Overall, this was definitely a fun Sherlock Holmes adventure. It certainly beat the last one and the ending is a lot more satisfying. Leaving a certain trap in operation is just the kind of thing I’d expect from Holmes here since he is not the kind of character who takes prisoners. It may not be the standard mystery story, but Holmes is hardly a standard detective. I’d definitely recommend checking this film out if you haven’t already. I can’t see any reason why you won’t enjoy it if you like a good thriller or are a fan of Sherlock Holmes in general.