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Enola Holmes 2 review: A gaming cast carries the stunning sequel

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“The film’s stars deliver solid performances that move the story forward and draw you into the Enola adventure.”

Advantages

  • Millie Bobby Brown is endlessly entertaining

  • Henry Cavill’s Sherlock Holmes Is Fresh and Fascinating

  • Just the right balance of action, humor and mystery

The inconvenients

  • The central mystery is a bit convoluted

The secret to crafting a good sequel is a mystery that has perplexed more than a few filmmakers and studios over the years. Hollywood history is littered with follow-up movies that couldn’t match the success of their predecessors, but every once in a while, a movie hits on all the right clues.

And sometimes – as is the case with Enola Holmes 2 – they even make it look, well…elementary.

Millie Bobby Brown sits in a horse-drawn carriage in a scene from Enola Holmes 2.

Growing up

Directed by Harry Bradbeer from a screenplay by Jack Thorne, Enola Holmes 2 bring back Millie Bobby Brown (stranger things) as the titular budding detective who often finds himself in the shadow of his famous brother, Sherlock, portrayed again by Steel man star Henry Cavill. The film shows Enola struggling to get her fledgling detective agency off the ground as it becomes embroiled in a missing person’s case linked to the highest levels of government and industry.

The first one Enola Holmes did a terrific job of introducing Brown as the main character, whose intelligent and shrewd nature was matched only by his social awkwardness and knack for getting into trouble. Brown made the role his own, handling both the action and the humor with ease, and showing great chemistry with not only Cavill but also the film’s audience, thanks to Enola’s affinity for breaking the knot. fourth wall and bring viewers into its story.

All this continues – and continues to grow – in Enola Holmes 2, which seems like a natural extension of the first film, from the story itself to Enola’s relationship with the surrounding characters and audience. There’s a level of comfort in the franchise now that makes Enola feel like an old friend you check in on, and she has one hell of a story to tell you.

Millie Bobby Brown, Henry Cavill and Louis Partridge stare at a piece of paper in a scene from Enola Holmes 2.
Enola Holmes 2. Henry Cavill as Sherlock Holmes, Millie Bobby Brown as Enola Holmes, Louis Partridge as Tewkesbury. cr. Alex Bailey/Netflix © 2022

Sherlock and Enola

The dominant themes in the 2020s Enola Holmes centered on its desire to assert its independence, and Enola Holmes 2 Brown’s character now has trouble asking for and accepting help. It’s a thematic storyline twist for the character, but it’s handled smartly and manages to avoid diminishing what Enola has achieved as an independent woman in a frustrating and patriarchal world.

It’s a tricky line to walk, but Brown and the film’s creative team strike the necessary narrative balance to do so.

Their efforts are bolstered by a nuanced performance from Cavill, whose version of Sherlock gets a lot more screen time and character development this time around, but never outshines Brown and his portrayal of Enola. Cavill’s Sherlock is just as intellectually aloof and socially awkward as Enola, but he’s smart enough to realize that by being a man, the same attributes that earn him admiration and respect play against his sister.

Cavill’s Sherlock is not an overtly emotional character, but his feelings and loyalty are explored through his interaction with Enola. It’s a clever way to infuse warmth and heart into a character known for being relatively cold, and it’s treated with an appropriately soft touch by Cavill and the film’s creative team.

Henry Cavill bows as Sherlock Holmes in a scene from Enola Holmes 2.

The game is started

Given the film’s Holmes-ian foundation – as filtered by author Nancy Springer Enola Holmes novels, which were adapted for movies – it’s a bit surprising that the weakest element of Enola Holmes 2 is its central mystery.

Enola’s adventure draws her into a vast conspiracy involving a missing woman, a match factory, and the British government, but the connection between all parties involved remains somewhat opaque even after the big tell-all scene in the third act. Although Enola pulls back the curtain and reveals the villains, the narrative never quite delivers the kind of “A-ha!” time we’ve come to expect from tales set in and around the world of Sherlock Holmes. It’s a little underwhelming, sure, but the film’s big performances – which also include a villainous Inspector played by David Thewlis and returning characters played by Susie Wokoma and Helena Bonham Carter – raise Enola Holmes 2 each time the story gets bogged down in its own mystery.

Fun, funny and incredibly smart, Enola Holmes 2 is the rare sequel that not only does well by its predecessor, but expands the world of the franchise significantly. The film’s finale sets the stage for more stories to come for Enola – and Sherlock, for that matter – and gives her fans plenty of reasons to look forward to joining them.

Directed by Harry Bradbeer, Enola Holmes 2 premieres November 4 on Netflix.

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