Holmes & Watson Movie Ending Explained (In Detail)

Spoilers Alert:

The US critics have HOLMES & WATSON torn in the air. The Will Ferrell comedy is up for the Golden Raspberry 2019. And it’s reportedly so bad that Netflix wouldn’t buy it. We’ll reveal in our review whether the Sherlock Holmes satire has any merit at all.

The Plot Summary

1881 in London: By chance, Sherlock Holmes (Will Ferrell) meets the depressed Afghanistan War veteran Dr. John Watson (John C. Reilly), who quickly becomes friends with him. A few years later, Sherlock Holmes is known throughout the country as a brilliant master detective, while Dr. Watson serves as his faithful companion and records their adventures together in writing. Her latest experience: Holmes is expected to testify at the trial against his nemesis Professor James Moriarty (Ralph Fiennes). But Holmes believes he has discovered a perfidious and masterfully orchestrated conspiracy. Can Watson, housekeeper Rose Hudson (Kelly Macdonald) and the Americans Dr. Grace Hart (Rebecca Hall) and Millie (Lauren Lapkus) survive the chaos that is inevitable when the brilliant master detective pursues his theories without any consideration for others…?

Movie explanation of the ending

Six nominations for the Golden Raspberry, including for worst film and for worst screen combination. On RottenTomatoes, only a measly ten percent of the reviews rated are positive, and the paying audience also punished the comedy: With a budget of 42 million dollars, the film only generated 30.5 million dollars in its home market of the USA and Canada. But perhaps the biggest embarrassment that “Holmes & Watson” had to endure: According to media reports, the distributor Sony Pictures wanted Will Ferrell entirely (“Anchorman”) as a driving force comedy to be sold to Netflix after several terrible test screenings – loosely based on Paramount’s handling of “The Cloverfield Paradox” and Warner’s treatment of the Andy Serkis film “Mowgli – Legend of the Jungle”. But Netflix, the home of various lousy Adam Sandler films and the completely unsuccessful “Game Over, Man”, refused. Ouch. But this huge anti-hype that is hitting “Holmes & Watson” before its USA cinema release could be the new directorial work by Etan Cohen (“The Knatcoach”) However, bizarrely, it can be helpful. Not that box office success is plausible – but at least the expectations of those who buy a ticket for this “Sherlock Holmes” parody are likely to be so low that they walk out of the hall subtly and positively surprised.

John C. Reilly and Will Farrell as Dr. John Watson and detective Sherlock Holmes.

Note: The emphasis is on “subtle”, because Cohen’s rather late satire of Guy Ritchie’s “Sherlock Holmes” films (for context: Sony made the first announcement about the film in 2008, at that time Ferrell and Sacha Baron Cohen were still scheduled to play the title roles ) is actually very unfunny over long stretches. A big problem is that director and writer Etan Cohen in “Holmes & Watson” doesn’t know when it’s over. Whether it’s vomit gags, wooden slapstick or the confused babbling of the characters: Cohen rides things that would only be moderately entertaining even as a short joke to death and then continues to hop around on them. The worst problem with this comedy, however, is the inconsistent characterization of its protagonist. Will Ferrell’s Sherlock Holmes is a vague something who, depending on the scene, represents an absolute idiot who inexplicably everyone else thinks is intelligent, or he is an intelligent person who is, however, clumsy and subject to the errors of his time, or he is an absolute one Genius. Because Holmes is written so inconsistently and Will Ferrell plays him completely unfocused, it’s difficult to build a relationship with this character. We’re supposed to laugh with him, laugh at him, laugh in spite of him – it’s completely arbitrary, and so “Holmes & Watson” fails to build up an expectation that can be broken comedically. The same applies to John C. Reilly (“Kong: Skull Island”) as a naive, no, stupid, no, almost incapable of living, no, clever Watson, but who pales in comparison to Holmes.

While the costumes are chic and the ornate set is respectable given the budget, Cohen’s direction is largely without concept, which is why Ferrell and Reilly’s longer slapstick passages are brittle and the direct parodies of Guy Ritchie’s action pieces remain stale. What works, however, are the background gags that retroactively poke fun at Victorian era misconceptions. Rebecca Hall is also in the same vein with her role: “The Gift” supporting actress is the walking highlight of the film and, as an American doctor, repeatedly proudly utters sentences like “I make 30 cents for every dollar a male doctor makes!” Hall turns her lines of dialogue into successful gags because she creates her role without any irony; she believes with all her heart that she has achieved something outstanding. And this lack of irony in Hall’s playing is the surprising spark that makes it ignite, while Ferrell mostly packages similar sayings in a knowing, stupid way and sounds like an annoying schoolboy who rubs his counterpart’s lack of knowledge in a mocking tone.

Rebecca Hall plays the role of Dr. Grace Hart on the few highlights of “Holmes & Watson”.

When Reilly and Ferrell make stupid but friendly buddies, “Holmes & Watson” finds itself in scenes, as well as whenever the humor briefly becomes more biting. Lauren Lapkus (“Orange Is The New Black”) again as a companion of Hall’s Dr. Hard to do anything, but convinces with comic-like facial expressions, while the otherwise subtle Kelly Macdonald (“No Country for Old Men”) tries here with a caricature-esque, big performance, which is a risky decision, but it brings a few smiles out of sheer madness alone. Ralph Fiennes (“A Bigger Splash”) as Moriarty and “Dr. House” star Hugh Laurie in the role of Sherlock’s brother Microft is criminally underwhelmed in “Holmes & Watson”. “Holmes & Watson”, on the other hand, secures another point of sympathy with a parodic musical number by the “Rapunzel” duo Alan Menken & Glenn Slater, even if Cohen’s unimaginative production does the number no favors. Mark Mothersbaugh, on the other hand, can only set a few accents with his score à la “Hans Zimmer’s music for ‘Sherlock Holmes’ in the discount version” and the sound mixing (in the original version) is even a complete horror – studio dubbing and set sound recordings are confused and mixed together without any effort to produce a homogeneous result.

Conclusion: Let’s face it: “Holmes & Watson” is a comedy full of nonsense and pretty half-baked – but this film has a few laughs to offer, not least thanks to Alan Menken, Glenn Slater and Rebecca Hall. “Weak, but better than the terrible US reviews suggest” is an egregiously weak compliment, but this version of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson needs all the praise she can get.

“Holmes & Watson” can be seen in some USA cinemas from February 7, 2019.

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