Well, after this spring's trend of superhero-versus-superhero movies, the latest with our big screen Sherlock, Robert Downey Jr., as one of the combatants, one can't help but imagine a third Sherlock Holmes feature film with Holmes, now done with Moriarty, battling it out with a rival detective.
But who? He's freakin' Sherlock Holmes! The original! The master! The legend beneath which all others are pale shadows. And he can't fight Watson, as Watson is his Bucky. (At least according to Fox Estacado's "Ask me about my ship" shirts parallelism, and if you can't go by t-shirts . . .) So if Sherlock Holmes 3 is going to follow current trends, and find Sherlock going against somebody who outshines Moriarty, well, there is just the one guy. You know who.
I'm sure out there in the million-monkeys world of pastiche, someone has hit on this plot before, but we haven't see a big-time, all-out, major-talent battle between the brothers Holmes. And that could be so very, very cool.
Mycroft is bigger than Moriarty. Moriarty was lord of the criminal world, the underworld, the organizing power behind all that had to hide in the shadows. Mycroft is all that hiding in plain sight. Moriarty might have been London and a bit more, but Mycroft was Britain herself.
It almost seems an unfair match-up. But consider:
Mycroft has all the visible resources, and the limited spy networks of the 1890s, most of whom were directed outward. Sherlock Holmes was a Predator, skilled in camouflage, maintaining hidden refuges, and more skilled at just about everything than Mycroft's minions. Which is where Mycroft's weakness lies, balancing things out: Mycroft Holmes had to work through fallible minions. As brilliant as the man was, perhaps moreso than Sherlock, his limited movement and the fact he had to relay orders across channels which took time and direction . . . well, little brother Sherlock could use those weaknesses to his advantage.
We know the Holmes brothers did not always see eye to eye on everything -- their choices of occupation scream that fact. Mycroft believed in the benefits of the government and its structures as the place he could best use his talents. Sherlock believed in independent action, outside of the official channels and its rules. Coming up with a scenario to pit them against each other in an all-out war of the Holmes's, perhaps not to the death, but to the incarceration, is not too hard to imagine.
Mycroft Holmes goes one step too far, untouchable by the law, in the pursuit of Britain's welfare. Sherlock commits an unforgivable treason in the cause of an innocent. There is so much kindling piled between these descendents of Vernet's sister that the flames which could erupt could be so very beautiful to see.
That would be a wonderful finale to Guy Ritchie's Sherlock Holmes trilogy. Just as we glimpsed shadowed Moriarty in the first movie and Sherlock fought him in the second, we saw Mycroft in bright, naked daylight in the second movie and Sherlock could fight him in the third.
But Sherlock Holmes: Civil War is perhaps too American a title. So here's hoping for . . .
Sherlock Holmes: Fawkes You!