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Whatever remains must be the solution…

So, two big flicks are coming out this weekend. There’s the new “Mission: Impossible” movie directed by Brad Bird, and the sequel to Guy Ritchie’s “Sherlock Holmes”. I kiiiind of liked the first “Holmes” movie. I thought Robert Downey Jr. did something original with the role, and his chemistry with Jude Law’s Watson was exceptional. Depicting them as a bickering couple isn’t an original concept, but it was well-executed. As I mentioned in my last post, “Sherlock” remains my favourite filmed version of the classic stories, and I’m very excited about the new season premiering at the end of the month in the UK (and thus, on the Internet). In the Ritchie movie, though, I wasn’t thrilled with the whole “mystery” of the story. It’s set up such that there is a nasty cult operating in London, and there are seemingly supernatural events taking place. Holmes is busy trying to work out the particulars of these events (and as the viewer, we notice the clues when he does), but without the right context, it’s impossible for us to solve the mystery on our own. We can’t be expected to know about every time of English heraldry, or be able to extrapolate which chemical compounds are relevant without a bit of a hint. I’m just speaking from my own experience, so maybe it was possible to unravel the enigma before Holmes did, but it sure felt like they were throwing the audience for a loop.

It could be argued that this was the point, that Ritchie purposefully crafted a mystery whose solution would only be evident to his protagonist, thereby demonstrating what a clever so-and-so he is. If that’s the case, though, you’re ignoring one of the main appeals of mystery stories: the “Aha!” moment, when everything clicks into place for the viewer. At any rate, this is an area in which I’m hoping the next movie will improve. I’ll let you know how it panned out once I watch it.
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