This article is meant to be read by those who have seen the movie either in theater or DVD (came out this last Tuesday, the 12th) in its entirety and believe that it was inconsistent with its writing. Brilliant and ham-fisted writing mingled together and unclear motivations that take away from an otherwise amazing experience.
What I would have changed:
Adler’s death needed to have more weight and resonance. If I had wrote it, Holmes would have been there to see her die. Adler would have already been infected by the time Holmes got to her, already at deaths door. And despite his intellect, preparation, and creativity Holmes is powerless to save the only woman he’s ever had any real feelings for. She dies in his arms. In that moment, something in Holmes…breaks. His calm and composure and ability to assess everything and draw his conclusions begins to be blurred by blind rage. This no longer becomes a movie about to masterminds trying to out maneuver each other, it has become about Holmes’ thirst for vengeance.
Because the core of the premise has become changed, all most all the details of Act 2 are changed. The one thing on Holmes mind is: find Moriarty, kill Moriarty. Nothing else matters. And because of this, his relationship with Watson becomes strained, and Holmes begins to make more morally questionable actions as Holmes begins to touch a dark and powerful side of himself. And also with this singular focus, Holmes begins to miss things he would have had no trouble picking up before. This causes even more distress as Holmes begins to have doubts that he can defeat Moriarty. But his desire for revenge and determination to watch Moriarty die overrides his uncertainties and spurs his determination. And in this, despite mistakes and mishaps, Holmes becomes a freight train headed directly for Moriarty.
Now Moriarty, he is playing this game too. Always just out of reach, always with a backdoor and even though Moriarty wants to flood the world with war, there is a hidden and secret pain from his past that he carries with him. But any spark of humanity is long dead. Moriarty has become a force of nature, bending to no one’s will. And with his connections and resources his desires seem all but inevitable.
This is where unstoppable force meets immovable object. All the events that have transpired come to a head in this final showdown. But wait, there is a twist: Moriarty is more of a puppet master than Holmes could have assumed. All Holmes actions to avenge Adler’s death have indeed furthered Moriarty’s cause. Holmes was the final instrument and all the plans are set in motion. But, Moriarty has underestimated Holmes as well. Or rather, Holmes’ allies and friends. So fixated on Holmes and considering Watson and the rest as little more than pawns to be manipulated, Moriarty forgets that even a lowly pawn can be crucial to checkmate the king…
This is a very broad stroke on the whole of the story. Though I would change much of the story and motivation of the characters, there is much I would want to keep. Much of the humor was priceless including Holmes’ urban camouflage, the sibling relation between Watson and Holmes, and “Who’s been dancing on my chest” line had me about rolling in the isles. And the ending, where Holmes takes Moriarty over the edge, the moment he and Watson have at the end, and of course Holmes’ return, I would not change a word. Just punch up the first act, trim the fat in the second, and the final act all but writes itself.