ENOLA HOLMES 2 (NETFLIX) (2022)
SYNOPSIS: Fresh off the triumph of solving her first case, Enola Holmes (Millie Bobby Brown) follows in the footsteps of her famous brother, Sherlock (Henry Cavill), and opens her own agency — only to find that life as a female detective-for-hire isn’t as easy as it seems. Resigned to accepting the cold realities of adulthood, she is about to close shop when a penniless matchstick girl offers Enola her first official job: to find her missing sister. But this case proves to be far more puzzling than expected, as Enola is thrown into a dangerous new world — from London’s sinister factories and colorful music halls, to the highest echelons of society and 221B Baker Street itself. As the sparks of a deadly conspiracy ignite, Enola must call upon the help of friends — and Sherlock himself — to unravel her mystery. The game, it seems, has found its feet again!
While Robert Downey Jr.’s third Sherlock Holmes outing has been in production limbo for years, the Holmes has found their way to the small screen except the fact that the focus is on Enola Holmes and Sherlock is played by Henry “Superman” Cavill.
Millie Bobby Brown is back to reprise the titular character in a sequel that is not based on the young adult book series by Nancy Springer but an original story borrowed or what Hollywood always say- inspired by the life of labour activist Sarah Chapman.
Co-written by director Harry Bradbeer and Jack Thorne (The Aeronauts), Enola decides to open her own detective agency after successfully solving her first case. Her first and only client is a penniless matchstick girl who requested Enola to help look for her missing sister who formerly worked at the matchstick factory. As always, things are not as simple as it seems. Soon enough, Enola is caught up in a web of deadly corruption and murder that she has no choice but to work with her older brother, Sherlock to solve the case.
For the most part, Bradbeer and Thorne keeps the pacing breezy and the narrative richer than its predecessor. Mostly, Brown is such a consummate performer that her often “act cute” is not overly irritable cute and she is as natural as Ryan Reynolds when it comes to breaking the fourth wall. The ever busy script requires Enola to juggle action, brains and romance (if you recall Lord Tewkesbury) in one tight package and Brown plays the underdog to near perfection that it’s hard to imagine someone else playing Enola Sherlock.
Devoting more screentime to Cavill this time round can be a double-edged sword. On one hand, we love to see Enola working on her own. On the other, it’s always welcome to see the prim and proper Baker Street detective in the mystery as well. Still, Cavill and Brown manages to entertain us with their occasional funny bantering and rousing case solving. Honestly, we can’t wait for Mycroft (played by Sam Clafin in the first) to join them in the third instalment.
Once again, Helena Bonham Carter returns for an extended cameo as Enola’s mother and together with Edith (Susie Wokoma) partake in the movie’s sole hair-raising horse chase sequence. Recurring character include Inspector Lestrade (Adeel Akhtar) and the familiar David Thewlis expectedly portrayed an unfavourable villain.
Even though it’s technically aimed for the young adult crowd, the writing remains a draw and refuses to dumb things down. Fortunately, of course given that it’s mandatory to include Sherlockian twists and swings for a Sherlock theme flick. A certain Moriarty and John Watson is also introduced paving the way for a far more exciting road ahead for the Legendary and Netflix franchise.
The only drawback is the somewhat poor visual effects employed and obvious lacking in location shooting though credit should go to the costume department for the ball sequence. Again, we must emphasize that Enola Holmes 2 is one of those rare movies that deserved more instalments to come. Feminist tale or not, we are already rooting for 3!
Review by Linus Tee