Andrew’s review published on Letterboxd:
My review of The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson: The Twentieth Century Approaches, Part 2 is long overdue. This is the final film in the Soviet Union's run on the iconic consulting detective. It was based off the short stories, The Adventure of the Bruce-Partington Plans and His Last Bow, by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. While I enjoyed the movie, it didn't hold the same charm for me as the previous entries.
Consulting detective Sherlock Holmes (Vasily Livanov) is called out of retirement by his brother Mycroft Holmes (Boris Klyuyev). Accompanied by his best friend, Doctor John Watson (Vitaly Solomin), the two of them meet Holmes' older brother. A collection of documents that detail new submarines plans by the British navy have been stolen. Set up briefly in the first episode, a young clerk in the government, Arthur Cadogan West's, was discovered in a train tunnel. He clearly couldn't have jumped into the tunnel from above and his head was caved in but there was no blood in the area. On top of that, West only had seven of the missing papers leaving three unaccounted for. Holmes and Watson must figure out how West died and where were the missing papers.
I'm sad to say that I didn't enjoy this entry as much. Both parts lost some of the charm that I loved about the previous movies in the series. To be fair though, I have mixed feelings about the The Last Bow collection of short stories, which the film draws from. I didn't care much for the inclusion of the (Soviet Union?) propaganda.
Both Vasily Livanov and Vitaly Solomin bring their A game. One sweet moment for me was when the two were talking to Mycroft over the phone. Holmes had his arm around Watsons' shoulder and it's nice to see how the characters have grown and are best friends! I feel like the two actors must have been friends in real life, especially with the great chemistry they have together. Solomin got redemption in the film because we get to finally see him eat and drink again! It's too bad we didn't get to see that in the restaurant scene as well. However, it's been so long that I'm happy it was included anyways The filmmakers and Solomin are such a tease!
Some of the funniest moments in when Holmes and Watson are in Mycroft's office. He and Watson kept getting interrupted by everyone trying to contact Mycroft so Watson just started taking the phone off the hook. The whole time I loved Holmes just sitting and reading the paper while ignoring everything his brother was saying.
I didn't like how Watson thought that Holmes was the spy who was selling out the government's secrets. They've been friends for so long, and Watson knows his methods, which confused me because he should've know that the detective was just playing a part. I love the cameo by Mrs. Hudson (Rina Zelyonaya) at the end and how she employed Holmes' methods of disguise to trick Watson. I always loved how she had picked up Holmes' skills throughout this series and could outsmart Watson every time, just like she did here.
One other thing that irked me is how Watson treated his wife, Mary Morstan (Yekaterina Zinchenko). She was basically a servant for the doctor and I didn't like how dismissive he was of her.
End of spoilers!
There isn't any major change on the technical side of the movie. The cinematography in the very last scene with Holmes and Watson looked very good. Outside of that, there isn't anything new to say.
Despite my feelings in this last entry, I have enjoyed my time with this series as a whole (I might have one other set that I missed but the sentiment holds). Vasily Livanov as the consulting detective Sherlock Holmes and Vitaly Solomin as Doctor John Watson were the perfect duo. I agree with Doyle's daughter, Jean Conan Doyle, that her father would have approved of Livanov's take on the character. Personally, I like him more than Jeremy Brett and Livanov is my second favorite actor to tackle the detective. The same goes from Solomin, he's my second favorite Watson. The movies captured the spirit of the books perfectly and everyone who worked on this series deserves the highest praise. This series, to me, is one of the most canon accurate and it is very underrated. If you're a fan of Holmes I would start with the previous entries but the whole series should not be missed. If you don't care for the consulting detective then this episode won't change your mind. It's currently on YouTube, the audio is in Russian but it has English subtitles, for anyone who wants to watch the series. I would somewhat recommend this episode but I highly, highly, highly recommend the entire series!!!