It’s time to look at another Sherlock Holmes film. This one’s definitely a pretty intense mystery with a lot of suspects and various red herrings to keep you guessing. It’ll be rather difficult to sniff out the culprit here and even if you do you may end up mixing some of the suspects around since quite a few of the characters look really similar. Still, it’s the kind of case you would expect for Holmes since only a master detective can put it all together.
He was enjoying a nice vacation over with Watson when a lady is murdered. It’s a tragic thing, but there doesn’t seem to be much of a mystery about it so the heroes prepare to go back to London. That’s when they receive a letter from the dead person before she passed asking for their assistance. Holmes officially puts himself into the case and must now find out who is using this claw to murder everyone. Surely there is some kind of explanation for it, but what can it be? You’ve got the local judge, the husband of the girl who was murdered, a maid, an old man with a shotgun, and a few other characters running around. Holmes will have to tread carefully as even the slightest miscalculation could end up costing him his life.
As always the writing and pacing for the film are on point. It’s entertaining from start to finish and the mystery should have you engaged. Sherlock Holmes always acts in a very professional manner and the cops give him his due credit. He can be a little extra sarcastic to Watson at times though. He’s not saying anything mean so don’t worry about that, but it’s pretty obvious that he is just tricking Watson into feeling like he is helpful most of the time. Other times Holmes will actually insult Watson to his face but in a subtle way so Watson doesn’t even notice. It wasn’t Watson’s best showing so I guess even Holmes got tired of that, but still worth pointing out.
Watson is a lot of fun as always and it’s just easy to see why he has a lot of fans. “Rubbish” has started to become his main catchphrase. He is always muttering about something or other and I suppose he has good reason to grumble. He may be a doctor, but nobody really respects him all that much and they certainly don’t seem to buy into his intelligence. Watson ends up falling into a ditch multiple times which didn’t help his case, but at least he always means well. Watson is a very genuine person who speaks his mind. It just doesn’t often work out very well for him unless he is holding a gun. When in combat he is always ready.
Usually Sherlock Holmes is the master of disguises, but in this film the main villain really took that role. His disguises were so intricate and detailed that he would really appear to be more than one person. Quite a few people had alternate forms here though as even the girl who died was actually another person. That’s why it could be tough to keep track of everyone since you had extra characters who were actually not characters at all and were merely trying to fool everyone else. You can’t trust anyone.
In a sense the guy with the shotgun had the best idea. He knew that everyone kept dying so he decided to sit down on his char and get the gun ready. People don’t seem to die during the day so he’ll shoot anyone who tries to enter the room until the next day. He even pretends to have a bad leg to make the villain underestimate him. Unfortunately his whole plan was rendered moot as he decided not to have his chair actually face the door where the villain would come through. Isn’t that a terrible plan then? The whole point of a plan like this is to be able to see every direction from where the villains might come through. Otherwise there just isn’t much point to the plan at all and you might as well have just waited outside. Of course, this guy wasn’t exactly the smartest tool in the shed as Holmes warned him of his impending doom and the guy refused to listen. You should always hear Sherlock Holmes out.
The ending of the film is also fairly unique as one of the suspects decides to take things into his own hands. Usually it is Sherlock Holmes who either captures the villain or forces him to fall into his doom or into the hands of the police. This time he really did lose the guy in the fog and was just fortunate that one of the other characters was around or the villain could have possibly escaped. I was also glad that the character didn’t go out like a 2 bit character and actually managed to block the Scarlet Claw. After all, that weapon is hardly long range so once you manage to grab the opponent’s hand it will lose most of its lethal potential.
Overall , Sherlock Holmes: The Scarlet Claw is a really solid film. It’s probably the most thorough mystery of them all. (From the Holmes films that I’ve seen so far) While it’s still not as high ranked as some of the other mysteries thanks to the cast of suspects being a little less interesting, you can’t really ask for much more than what this film gives you. It has all of the classic Sherlock Holmes’ fundamentals in one clean package. Watson and Holmes still have a great dynamic as always even if I would like to see Watson win a verbal battle one of these days. He’s just too polite to properly defend himself though.