Sherlock: The Abominable Bride–My Review **SPOILERS** **SPOILERS** **SPOILERS**
**This review of STAB is my opinion and mine alone. It contains lots of spoilers, so if you haven’t seen it…
Turn Back!!!! Spoilers Ahead!!
Now… I have to admit; I was intrigued at the idea of Sherlock set in the Victorian era and what exactly Sherlock would be like residing in the past instead of the more modern era and I think that the creators of the series strived to give fans something unusual without exactly continuing the series altogether.
Well, unusual it was.
First, you have a recap of all the previous Sherlock seasons, which leads into an “alternative” recreation of Sherlock & Watson’s first meeting through their friend, Mike Stamford. This was very clever. It recreated John’s war experiences, their first introduction to each other and my personal favorite, Sherlock beating a corpse with a whip.
Afterwards you are thrust into the world of Victorian England in the 1800’s. The scenery is quite beautiful with carriages, velvet covered chairs and top hatted Londoners walking about, and we are taken to 221 B Baker Street and meet Mrs. Hudson, who is very funny, telling John that she detests his stories in the paper as she never has anything to say in them. The dialogue is funny and fast paced, however, it is somewhat unnerving to see Sherlock behaving in a more theatrical way that we are used to. It was almost as if he were performing on a stage, rather than in a movie. John is as funny as ever, if not a bit thickheaded at times (the man didn’t even know his own wife’s perfume).
When Lestrade arrives and very fearfully relates to Holmes & Watson the case of the Abominable Bride, a Gothic tale of tragedy involving an unhappy bride, shooting away at men from a balcony only to take her own life later. Holmes is uninterested until he learns that the bride was spotted by a police officer the next night, shooting her own husband. Sherlock takes the case and he and Watson head to the mortuary, leaving a very angry Mary behind. She is clearly unhappy with her life as Mrs. Watson and grumbles about it to Mrs. Hudson, until a mysterious message lures her away.
At the morgue, Holmes and Watson greet the mortician’s assistant, Anderson, who dislikes Sherlock as much as the old Anderson did. Holmes then greets the mortician, “Hooper” who is clearly Molly Hooper in disguise as a man, a fact realized by Watson, but not Holmes (I will get into my feelings on this story line later). Hooper is clearly hostile towards Sherlock and begrudgingly shows the brides body to the group. She shows Holmes the woman’s finger that is covered in blood with the words “You” written on the wall. This was a message the Bride had shouted before killing herself. This stumps the men. Earlier, Lestrade tells Sherlock that the “Bride” has killed five separate men.
Later, Sherlock & John visit someone who he clearly loathes at a Gentleman’s club. After a bizarre exchange with the butler there (some sort of sign language was spoken, but I am not sure) they are sent in to see… Mycroft. This is one of the funniest, if not one of the most bizarre moments of the movie.
Mycroft is supremely obese, surrounded by food. After making a bet with Sherlock on how quickly he could die, Mycroft tells Sherlock that he would like him to meet Lady Carmichael, a woman who fears her husband might be murdered soon. Later she tells Holmes & Watson about her husband’s strange behavior of late and that he was being targeted by the “Abominable Bride”. Holmes agrees to help and tells the woman to sleep separately from her husband that night and that he and Watson will be nearby.
During all of this Watson has his own set of troubles as Mary has been spending a lot of time away from home. Sherlock in the meantime seems haunted by “Ghosts” from his past.
That night he and Watson lie in wait after the Carmichael’s have gone to bed for the night. In a private moment, they have a heated exchange (this is one of my favorite parts) in which John points out not only Sherlock’s admiration for Lady Carmichael, but that he keeps a picture of Irene Adler in his pocket watch as well. Sherlock tells Watson that love is a distraction and Watson reminds him that he is a man, and not a machine. The two are interrupted at the sight of “The Bride” who appears as a ghostly apparition outside the Carmichael home. The two give chase, but Sherlock is too late to save Mr. Carmichael.
This is where the story begins to get weird, and confusing. While trying to get into his mind palace (through a very cool CGI effect of Sherlock looking at swirling scraps of paper) Sherlock is suddenly transported-to the future, via some very strong drugs that he has taken. He wakes up the modern day Sherlock we all know and love, thrust into the ending of Season three, where he is returning from banishment because of Moriarty. He is confronted by John, a pregnant Mary and Mycroft who angrily demands Sherlock tell him of all the drugs he’s taken. Sherlock admits to it but insists he needs them and must return to his mind palace to solve the case of the “Abominable Bride”.
This is where I will end my synopsis I don’t want to spoil the entire movie, but needless to say, Holmes spend the rest of the movie transporting back and forth between the present and the past, trying to solve the murder.
What I loved about the movie the most was seeing the cast together again. Whether it’s modern day or Victorian England, these people work well together. Benedict Cumberbatch is splendid as ever, astonishing the audience with his brilliant interpretation and the speed at which he is able to deliver his lines. He plays Sherlock with a bit more vulnerability this time around than in previous versions I’ve seen and Martin Freeman, well, he just is Watson.
The other thing I loved was the inclusion of past Sherlock characters such as Mike Stamford, the little boy Sherlock impressed at John and Mary’s wedding, Janine and, yes Moriarty as well. It was fun to see them all return, especially Andrew Scott who plays Moriarty with his usual lunatic dramatics. This is clearly a man who haunts Sherlock’s mind palace and torments him. Another particularly touching scene was the present day Mycroft asking the present day Watson to watch over his brother. This was a sweet reminder of the fact that while extremely competitive with his brother, that Mycroft truly loves him as well. It would have been nice to include Benedict’s parents in there; it was still fun to see the bond between the brothers.
What I didn’t love about the movie was the serious feminist attitude that permeated the story. Don’t get me wrong, I am a woman, and I realize this was during the days of the Suffragette’s, where women were fighting for equality and the right to vote. While I applaud the writers for showing how lowly women were treated in the past and also the present, it dominated the story and there was no real resolution. Did the women all go to jail? Were they sorry? I wasn’t sure. But I felt the subject was way too over the top for my taste and I found myself rolling my eyes at times. Plus, they likened the cause of women’s rights to that of some sort of evil cult made up of vengeful women. The actual women of the time chained themselves to fences and spent time in prison, sacrificing their freedom in order to win the right to vote, not gain revenge on all the men who’d done them wrong.
However, the part that supremely disappointed me was the story of “Hooper”. As a total Molly Hooper fan, I wondered why there wasn’t much in the trailer or promos that showed the character. I knew she was in it, but why not show any of Molly’s scenes at all? So needless to say the introduction to “Hooper” was surprising and sad at the same time. I understand that Molly is a secondary character and not a lead in the series, however, Molly Hooper endeared herself to fans by very shyly and quietly showing her love for Sherlock and her support of him as well. Molly is a very kindly character and seeing her so openly hostile was unpleasant. I realize that she is supposed to be a Suffragette but to make Molly the bad guy just felt wrong. It could have been Sally Donovan or Janine for that matter, someone who had a grudge against Sherlock in the regular seasons but instead they showed Molly as a character who truly hated Holmes, and that I didn’t like at all. It was a sad part of the Sherlock/Molly story that could have been done better.
As a Sherlock fan, I was prepared to accept anything that they could give us, as it could be a long time until the next installment, and for the most part, this was a fun and quite enjoyable chapter in the Sherlock story, if not a bit chaotic and confusing in parts.
So next will be Sherlock 4 and it will be interesting to see if any of this will be used in future story lines. Until then, I will be pondering the question Mycroft posed at the end of season three, “You know what happened to the other one…”
Posted on January 3, 2016, in Benedict Cumberbatch, Martin Freeman, Review, Sherlock: The Abombinable Bride and tagged Benedict Cumberbatch, Martin Freeman, Review, Sherlock: The Abombinable Bride. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.