BROMANCE: Why I LOVED Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows

 

 

Sorry for the lack of updates! I know, I know. I said I’d do better and I’m not actually showing it. This is a poor excuse, but I spent a great week with family off the island and sort of lost focus. I thought I could keep up the publishing schedule while on my short vacation, but it proved trickier than expected.

But now I’m back in the saddle and things should move more smoothly.

If not, feel free to troll the hell out of me in the comments.

So, what do I have for you today?

I have for you the topic of….BROMANCE!

Strangely enough, despite being a girl and a hopeless romantic at times, if I was at the bookstore or movie theater and had to choose between a romance (and an actually good one like Young Victoria or Moulin Rouge…okay that last one is kind of sappy, but I loved it anyways) and bromance action/adventure (like Supernatural and the recent Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows), I’d pick the bromance every time.

Speaking of Sherlock Holmes, that is why this is on my mind. I watched the movie twice and still completely overlook the lacking plot/mystery and little to no importance to the female characters.

Why?

Because the bromance between Sherlock Holmes and John Watson was EPIC.

Before watching, I heard some negative opinions regarding the movie, so I went to the theater with only one condition. I’ll love it as long as I got my Holmes/Watson fix.

I was not disappointed.

So what makes bromance so freaking appealing?

Well, generally, I have no clue. But for me personally…

Well…

Watching Two Attractive Men Fight, Play and Bond is Hot as Hell

What? I’m a healthy heterosexual woman. It’s like twice the fun than the usual one man action story. And while I know a lot of people like to take it further into writing fanfiction where the bromance turns into real romance, I prefer them straight. …Cause that means they’re still available to me. In my imagination anyways.  Leave me and my fantasies alone!

 

Friendship between Men is Rare

Men are tough, unemotional and completely clueless to their feelings. At least, that’s the stereotype. So to see male characters openly show affection for each other, without going completely gushy and sappy, is even more awesome because it’s rarely seen in real life and in even most stories. Of course, it’s all the rage in manga, which is probably why I love it so, and in genre fiction.

The Stakes Are Raised Dramatically  

In the Sherlock Holmes movies, Holmes and Watson’s bond is played out more obvious than would normally be allowed without getting too mushy thanks to Holmes eccentric personality. Since he’s a loner without any friends (which the writers made a point to mention and accentuate in the second movie), his affection and protectiveness for Watson feels more natural and also, at least in my case, I felt more involved because the stakes have been raised. Watson is not only Holmes best friend; he’s his ONLY friend, which makes him even more precious.

A little Spoilery from this point on…

 

But…

 

That is why in the first movie after the explosion in the middle of the movie and we see Holmes okay, the look on his face as he turned to see if Watson was okay and we don’t see what happened to Watson right away made me react strongly. I felt just as worried as Holmes did, and I loved it. And heck, I didn’t read the stories by then. I actually thought for a moment they really would kill off Watson.

In the second movie, their bond was accentuated even further than the first movie. Perhaps the writers figured out the movies strongest point was their friendship.

 

 

 

Again Spoiler Alert!!

 

 

 

In the beginning of the second movie, they killed off Adler right away. Then they showed Holmes and Watson doing what they do what they do best, arguing and getting into trouble (well, more like Holmes getting Watson into trouble) and then Watson’s wedding. Thus their bond is accentuated right away, but especially Holmes affection for Watson, though in his own eccentric and slightly selfish way.

So when we get to Moriarty directly threatening Watson’s life after Holmes is told of Adler’s fate, the stakes shoot up the roof. Who cares about the murders, explosions or a war between France and Germany – it’s the threat of Watson being killed just to hurt Holmes, who’s already hurting due to Adler’s death, and Holmes taking action to prevent all of this that keeps my butt glued to the chair and eyes on the screen. It becomes personal.

The train-fight action sequence is by far one of my favorite parts of the movie; with the chase scene and Holmes “death” scene on the other train coming in close second (though it was obvious Watson would use the adrenaline, so it wasn’t too suspenseful. I just loved their reactions).

Again the key word:  BROMANCE!

 

Spoilers Over.

…Well the worse ones anyways.

 

 

This is probably one of the reasons we rarely see genre action movies with strong, intelligent female characters with key roles in the plot.

Guys don’t identify with them and women don’t exactly mind watching hot male leads be…well hot male leads.

It’s why I didn’t really care so much that Adler wasn’t used and Simza barely played any role at all (and the role she did play was to save her brother, another male).

I was too distracted by Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law’s dynamic chemistry played out on the large screen to care.

This is also probably the reason that in the Supernatural fandom everyone hates Lisa and probably any love interest for Sam and Dean. In fact, I think this is also why there are so many Castiel haters. With Sam and Dean actually being true blood brothers, anything that gets in the way of their bromance is considered evil and needs to go. (Though I personally think there’s enough of Dean to go around for everyone: Sam, Castiel, Lisa, and Bobby!)

Maybe one day, there will be a movie with it all: bromance, strong independent and important female characters and an intelligent plot that leaves you guessing (like another Lord of the Rings).

Until then, I’ll enjoy what I can get.

Once more for the road: BROMANCE!

It rocks.

 

So, have you seen the new Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows movie? If you read this far, I really hope so! What did you think of it? Do you enjoy bromance or does it make you puke? Let me know!

 

 

 

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8 thoughts on “BROMANCE: Why I LOVED Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows

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  1. Love the Holmes and Watson bromance! Though at times, a better word for them might be “frenemies.” Lol. It’s a love-hate relationship.

    I will pick on your “little to no importance to the female characters.” I disagree!!! I love the main female characters in this movie – Irene, Mary, and Simza of course. Adler is such a vivid character; I was really sorry that she was killed off. I didn’t want to believe it at first. But I don’t think it was unnecessary — it really upped the stakes for the rest of the movie. Usually you think, “Oh, they wouldn’t really kill off Watson/Holmes/other main character,” but Irene’s death changed that.

    I’ve always thought Mary was awesome: 1 for putting up with Watson, 2 for putting up with Holmes. I actually cheered when she pulled the gun on that guy in the train. For an ordinary woman in those times, she actually plays a pretty active role in the story.

    And of course, Holmes and Watson wouldn’t have been able to solve the mystery or literally get anywhere without Simza. How can you say she isn’t important or strong?!? She played a huge role in the plot! 🙂

    OK, long comment, sorry. 🙂 I will name a bromance that DOES make me want to puke. In LOTR, Pippin and Merry are a great bromance, but Frodo and Sam make me want to puke. I guess because there has to be a significant humor element in a bromance to make it work well. P&M have that; F&S don’t.

    1. Okay you got me. I loved when Mary pulled the gun on that guy and I’m a big fan of both Adler and Simza.

      But what I mean is…there were no women who directly affected the main plot . Like ALL the villains were men and when it came down to it, Watson’s role was crucial cause he saved Holmes’ life more than once, and Holmes obviously is the main hero, but when it comes to like crucial crucial plot related events, their role took a backseat compared to the men. But then again, this is based off a work already printed, so it’s not like they could do much about that.

      I sort of agree with LOTR. While I didn’t mind Sam/Frodo’s romance, I knew people were gonna cringe cause there were lots of sappy moments, but Merry/Pippin was the best!! I think you’re right. Humor is definitely necessary to make a bromance shine at its best.

      1. “There were no women who directly affected the main plot.” but what about…

        SIMZA!!! I loved her because she directly affected the main plot, she could handle herself in a fight, and she wasn’t just thrown in as a possible love interest for Holmes after Adler died. Simza and her brother were involved with a radical movement that was taken over by Moriarty. Simza left it, but her weaker-willed brother got sucked back in. So she went to save him — and rather than looking at that like “She has to go rescue a MAN, gosh,” it’s more like the “traditional” roles of rescuer and rescued are reversed. No knight riding off to save his helpless princess, you know. The great thing about it was that she didn’t have to do it. At the point H&W found Sizma in France, she was no longer in danger and she could have stayed out of the whole thing. But she decided to go after her brother, led them to the wine cellar, got them across the border, was the “getaway” person for the factory escape, and played a key role in identifying and stopping her brother’s assassination attempt. Holmes and Watson are obviously the main characters (they don’t call it “Sherlock Holmes” for nothing), but the plot literally couldn’t have happened without Simza. They’d be nowhere without her help.

        Sorry for the long comment! :/ I likez the feminist rants.

      2. I still have to disagree to a point. I do love it when people do things when they don’t have to. I can do a year long post about this one character, Dorian from the Night Angel Trilogy who sacrificed so much for absolutely no reason. So I love that.

        Simza was a great character and she did sort of affect the plot, but not critically. I very much doubt that Sherlock Holmes would just give up if he had failed to rescue Simza and she had been killed by her assassin (yes she put up a fight, a great fight at that, but in the end, Holmes did most of the fighting and rescued her). If she had died, reading the Sherlock Holmes books and on my own opinion of Holmes’ personality and intellect, I doubt very much her death would have stopped him.

        He would have found some other way to figure out what was going on and how to get to the head of the anarchists. Simza made it easier for him, but I don’t think she was CRITICALLY important to the plot. Important, yes. Vital, no.

        I know, it’s called Sherlock Holmes and based off the stories where he and Watson are the main characters, so of course they have the critical roles. But they could have changed things up a bit.

        Like, have Simza directly save Holmes life, like Watson did, making his role irreplaceable within the plot (but honestly, his existence is more important than that, but if we don’t take into account Holmes and Watson’s past and just based this on this movie’s plot alone, the story would have come to a complete standstill if Watson didn’t blow up the tower or used adrenaline on Holmes. And I honestly believe that you could kill everyone in that movie but keep Sherlock Holmes and some antagonists alive and the plot could still continue, so keeping Holmes alive is pretty much the most important thing for this plot/movie.)

        In fact, why not have Simza blow up the tower or something similar? I mean, there are so many wonderful bromance scenes, I think they could have given that or something like that to Simza. Or have Simza or another female character do something that only she could do and without it there would be a hole in the story.

        And I know you will insist that she did have a vital role by being their guide, but to me, it’s just not THAT important.

        Take for example the female characters in the LOTR movies.

        Arwen saved Frodo’s life and convinced her father to have faith in Aragorn and give him the sword that later allowed him to command the undead army that turned the tides in the war. If she hadn’t gone back to her father, this wouldn’t have happened.

        Eowyn killed the freaking Witch-King (You have no idea how much I LOVED that scene) and saved Merry. Enough said.

        Galadriel…well, Galadriel was pretty much the queen of the freaking elves and probably had more or the same power as Gandalf (LOTR fanatics, please forgive me if I’m mistaken or I said something truly stupid, I only saw the movies). She didn’t even have to do anything. She was awesome by just existing. She also gives the main characters tools that helped them vitally later on.

        But what I mean is, female characters that have a critical, vital role to the plot. Not just to help the main characters get to point B, but actually do something that changes everything.

        Despite how much I loved Simza and loved watching her run through that forest with the rest of the guys as they’re being shot at, even if she had died, I still believe the plot could have continued as Sherlock Holmes would have simply figured out another way to get wherever they needed to be and find out what they needed to know.

        My argument isn’t that she isn’t strong or that she needed to depend on the men or needed to be rescued or whatever. Not at all. My argument is that her role to the plot, while important, wasn’t really THAT important. And they could have made it a lot more important, but didn’t.

        That goes for Adler too.

        Oh but I totally agree that it was awesome that Simza wasn’t used as a love interest after killing Adler and I do love how Adler’s death really did raise the stakes.

        Also, if Simza did a lot more to save her brother, instead of trusting it to Holmes and Watson, I would have agreed with you more that at least she had that going. But again, she mostly pointed the way and the other characters did the work. And yes, she did care for her brother, but did you? When he died and she cried, did you? I didn’t. Cause it wasn’t that important..other than the fact that he was to be their evidence. But then that didn’t matter anyways cause Holmes had already done something else to trap Moriarty. Hell, Simza could have died and I would only care because she was the last remaining active female character (Mary was cool, but she did very little compared to Simza) and I’m a feminist at heart. But plot wise, if she had been a guy and died, I would feel bad for barely a second before I was back to being enthralled by all the things Holmes and Watson were doing.

        I want more action genre movies where women did more, were more directly important to the plot. Though honestly I’m really fine with it in this movie. I loved this movie cause Holmes/Watson were soooo freaking awesome and Simza was cool too, but again, it’s not like I’d be looking for her in the next movie (I am, btw, hoping that perhaps Adler isn’t really dead…but I have a feeling I’d be disappointed).

        I mean, if every movie was the same, it would suck. And that’s pretty much what it comes down to in regards to female roles in action movies. They’re ALL the same! I don’t want to switch it and have all action movies where females take the reign all the time instead of the men. I want both. I want movies with mostly men doing the work (Sherlock Holmes, Pirates of the Caribbean, The Matrix, etc), and movies with mostly women doing the work (All of Hayao Miyazaki movies and his comic), and movies where it’s 50/50 (hmmm…hmmm….Lord of the Rings? Kind of? Hmm…I’ll get back to you on that one). And I mean genre fantasy/sci-fi/action/adventure movies, not romances and comedies and drama. I mean the movies where males have dominance.

        And I win the longest blog comment reply award! XD I also love this sort of ranting lol. I so gotta write a post about this…

  2. Still going to disagree!!! If you argue that Simza is sort of an accessory to Sherlock Holmes, I’d say Watson is, too. Despite the wonderful bro-chemistry. When you get down to it, everyone is — the movie is really about Holmes vs. Moriarty, and everyone else are pawns they manipulate. In the end, Watson’s useful for backup in fights and escapes and the like, but he isn’t what drives the plot. He just gives Holmes a personal stake in the outcome. In the end with the brother and Simza, Holmes is using Watson just as much as he is using Simza and Moriarty — merely a sacrifice that necessitates a winning strategy. The difference is that Holmes cares about his pawns (bishops? lol); Moriarty doesn’t.

    Also, I think we differ on the definition of “critically affect the plot.” With your LOTR examples, you seem to mean characters who send it swinging in a whole new direction. (Which, apart from Eowyn, it’s debatable that they do. Especially if you object to characters who serve to get the main character from A to B, like Galadriel does with Frodo. She gives him some tools and advice and sends him on his way, but her main task is to guard her home with her ring. Of course, the entire LOTR series is about getting Frodo from A to B…) I simply mean it as characters whose role serves to advance the plot in a way without which the plot wouldn’t go forward at all. They’re similar, but different.

    Aaaand I still maintain that Simza is a critically important character. If Simza had died, then it would have been impossible for Holmes to figure things out. He’d have had her bag with the peaches, so he’d have known to go to the gypsy camp outside Paris — but I think he’d have been stumped from there. Especially considering how incredibly unhelpful everyone else in the camp was. Simza knew someone wanted to kill her; she was hiding in the camp. The gypsies only “let them in,” so to speak, when Holmes called out that it was about Simza’s brother. Then Simza herself appeared, with all the clues she’d hidden, like the drawings. I don’t see how Holmes could have made the next leap without her, and especially without her brother’s drawings and letters. There’s a reason Moriarty wanted her dead — she was the missing link in the puzzle Holmes would’ve needed to solve.

    Generally, feminist me doesn’t get angry unless women characters are put into predictable types. Very much like the LOTR examples you gave: powerful witch, devoted wife, warrior maid. Usually in movies, female characters — no matter how “interesting” their character traits seem on the surface — serve plotwise as romantic interests for the main male characters. They often tag along with the guys, sticking around for no real reason than to add a romantic subplot or that they’re dragged along and have to go on the adventure if they want to survive. Game of Shadows defied those expectations by not letting either Adler or Simza develop into a serious love interest for Holmes. Also, Simza chose to come along and had a very real personal stake in the outcome — her brother’s life. (Wasn’t he her twin?) Gypsy women are known for being very independent and strong-willed, so it was telling and realistic that they made her character a gypsy. I mean, it wouldn’t have been realistic for Mary to run around Europe with a gun or join a radical movement. Mary likes a little adventure, and she played as active a role as she could — but in the end, it’s really about Holmes.

    I suppose what I’m saying is that I loved the women characters in this movie not for the relative importance of their roles in the plot, but for their depth of characterization. All three were well-developed, rounded characters that went beyond typical female character types. Usually, characterization of the secondary characters gets skimped on, especially in an action movie and especially in a movie like this, where so much of the focus is on Holmes and Watson. It’s just easier to make them into types and let the audience’s knowledge of story tropes fill in the rest. However, I didn’t think that was the case here. The secondary characters, including and especially the women, were full-fleshed people with realistic motivations, quirks, fears, loves, and courage. In Game of Shadows, they were characterized wonderfully in any case — but especially in comparison to most action movies, which tend to limit women to one or two traits. If a movie has a complex, realistic woman who isn’t the main character, I will approve of and appreciate that more than a movie with a one-dimensional, flat woman character in a main role, regardless of how ass-kicking she might be. To correct a common misconception, ass-kicking does not equal character development.

    1. I wouldn’t say she was an accessory. And even if Watson was also secondary, he played a more important part nonetheless. Adler too, well she had the potential to be. I liked Adler more than Simza because of that, but I still loved both.

      And you’re right. Watson and Simza are sort of similar because they are driven by other characters rather than their own personal goals. And Watson was primarily motivated by his wife, to save her and protect her, and secondarily motivated to support and protect Holmes. If he was a girl, I’d be totally on him/her this character…well okay, not really. Watson is too awesome…and needs to be a guy. Wouldn’t work if he was a girl…unless Holmes was a girl too (Now THAT is a movie I’d LOVE to see).

      The thing is, why this Watson being support for Holmes more okay, is because we have Holmes and we have Moriarty, male-wise. Female wise, when it comes to characters moving the plot, we only got Simza.

      But since this is called SHELOCK HOLMES, and basically this movie is about him and his partner and his archenemy, it doesn’t really bother me everything I’ve said till now. Hell, the fact Simza even exists and is looking for her brother and not a lover, is awesome by itself.

      I agree ass-kicking traits does not equal equality. I’m gonna explain that a bit more in a blog post, or at least what believe gender equality in movies really means.

      But Simza, though fleshed out…still kind of stuck to a stereotype, a set role. True, gypsy women are known to be strong willed, which she was. But gypsy women, and in fact the entire gypsy idea is that they are distrustful of everyone outside their family and that they are extremely loyal and devoted to their family. Which is what Simza was.

      They did it well though. It was the typical gypsy sort of people, by they did it without being stereotypical. They felt real. So no real complaints.

      Let’s continue this in my next post. I feel like I’m failing to explain what it is I’d like to see more of when it comes to females in action movies.

      1. I guess I objected to your original assertions because, for me, in a movie which isn’t about the women, Game of Shadows had a lot of great female characters. The fact that they didn’t have large parts/screen time — or at least, not as large as the men — didn’t bother me because they were realistically drawn and wonderfully acted. Would I like to see more blockbuster movies in which the woman gets the title role? Yeah. But in terms of this movie, I thought they did great.

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