My final impression?
Really! I mean, I figured that the movie was going to be “a little bit gay” seeing as how the bromantic angle is really popular and intriguing, but I had NO idea that the entire film was going to drip with all this blatant, homoerotic imagery.
The first movie hinted at the romantic chemistry between Holmes and Watson. This movie practically bashes you over the head with their sweet gay love, so much so that I began to wonder if their ambiguous relationship was less tongue in cheek this time around and more of an intentional, narrative construct.
I mean, some of these messages are so overt, you can’t even call them subtextual anymore:
1) The scene where Holmes and Watson dance together after Simza asks Holmes if he’s found what he’s looking for…
2) The scene where Holmes describes his relationship with Watson as a being a “partnership” and the Mary/John honeymoon effectively morphs, structurally, into a Sherlock/John honeymoon…
3) And, perhaps most famously, the scene where Watson wrestles Holmes to the floor and rends his garments while Holmes straddles him with his legs.
For me though, all that stuff was just the gay icing on the gay cake. The meat of my theory that there is an intentional gay backstory to the plot is based on the fact that Holmes’ solitary, eccentric “bachelor” life is so clearly juxtaposed with Watson attempting to achieve a socially acceptable “apple pie” married life in the film. It’s a genius approach because that is exactly how and why that kind of romantic relationship would have disintegrated back during that time period.
It’s played up a a platonic loss, the loss of a kindred spirit, but when Holmes and Watson look at each other, under the premise that this will be their last adventure, it just feels like so much more is bubbling up between them…
Do me a favor: The next time you watch the movie, pretend this backstory has occurred:
Holmes and Watson used to have sex.
They weren’t “gay” because their era didn’t even really have a language for articulating the nuances of their relationship, but effectively, they were good friends who worked well together and liked to bone on occasion. Which was, honestly, quite frequently.
All of a sudden, Watson (who is bi in modern terms) finds himself a charming woman that he can marry. He loves her as much as he loves Holmes, but only one of those relationships is socially sanctioned. The other isn’t.
Watson is forced to pick, so he chooses a life with Mary.
Holmes (who is straight-up gay) finds himself torn by this development. He resents Watson for abandoning him, yes, but he also wants for his friend to be safe and happy. It’s hard for Holmes because he knows he will never be able to have the “normal” heterosexual relationship that Watson has with Mary. Irene Adler was the only woman he ever slept with, and he swore he would NEVER do that again. Instead, she became his best hag and only confidant regarding his homosexuality / unrequited love for Watson.
Morriarty is especially eager to kill Watson because he and Holmes used to f*ck, but now Morriarty just f*cks Sebastian Moran, who happens to be an expert marksman…IN THE SACK!
It’s sort of this really messed up, gay love quadrangle.
No regrets. Just gay love.