Sherlock Holmes had one brother in Arthur Conan Doyle’s novels. The BBC take on this character introduced a sister called Euros, and Netflix has taken it ahead with Nancy Springer’s literary character Enola Holmes. The first installment established Enola Holmes (Millie Bobby Brown) as an independent, strong, and against-the-crowd young lady. Many individuals of that era would not assign the last word of the previous sentence to her, but she remained unapologetically herself. Enola Holmes attempted to present the gender divides of the late 19th century from a present-day lens, and Enola Holmes 2 built on that.
Millie Bobby Brown and Henry Cavill returned to Victorian England to take forward the story of the Holmes family from Enola Holmes’ perspective. While the first film needed to devote time to establishing the characters and introducing Enola to people who haven’t read the books, the second Netflix installment had the liberty to go straight ahead. It did just that, with flashbacks, cameos, and teamwork coming to the fore.
What is Enola Holmes 2 about?
Enola Holmes 2 picks up right after the first installment ended. Enola Holmes set up her own agency, but she struggled to secure cases for a multitude of asinine reasons.
Unable to sustain, Enola opted to shut shop but received a client just in the nick of time. A client (Bess) hired Miss Holmes to find her missing sister (Sarah Chapman) and provided the young detective a pathway into the dark underbelly of London crime.
What’s good about Enola Holmes 2?
Millie Bobby Brown and Henry Cavill have excellent chemistry. This is evident from their scenes at 221B, where one can easily buy into their bond as siblings. I also liked the way a real-life incident was merged into the fictional narrative. This lent authenticity to the film and cast a spotlight on a relatively unknown event.
David Thewlis has broken out of his most famous role as Professor Remus Lupin. Having portrayed the antagonist in Wonder Woman, he returned to the dark side with a menacing turn as Superintendent Grail. Armed with a dangerous walking stick and not averse to bending the law for his personal benefit, Grail is menacing and despicable. Thewlis’ acting sells this character and elevates him over the other villains.
Sharon Duncan Brewster has limited screen time, which may have audiences craving for more. One hopes she will match her wits with Millie Bobby Brown in a potential third installment. Will we get it?
Being a period film, Enola Holmes 2 relied on production design to transport the audience to the Victorian era. The minute details are done well, but Giles Nuttgens’ camera, which captures the action well and frames the story exquisitely, doesn’t linger on them to give the audience time to appreciate it. Instead, they get fleeting glimpses of the same as Enola climbs drain pipes, sprints across roofs, and races through the alleys.
The character’s manner of exchanging her outfits allowed cinephiles to get a glimpse of numerous costumes from the past. The Ball gown and Enola’s blue dress really stole the show. Consolata Boyle’s costumes even paid homage to The Handmaid’s Tale with the prison uniform featuring what resembled a wings bonnet. Was it meant to be a representation of repression?
The pacing was good, with deduction, dialogue, investigation, and fast-paced action sprinkled throughout. It ensured this Netflix Original didn’t seem laborious to watch. Breaking the fourth wall worked in some ways, as Enola could air her inner non-diegetic thoughts to the public. It helped ensure the protagonist had a one-way interaction with the audience and kept them up to speed with things.
What’s not good about Enola Holmes 2?
The Netflix film tries to position Enola as an independent character who sets up her own agency. However, we see her struggles as the Sherlock Holmes name is so powerful. She tried her best to get her credit, but it was tough. Even the film’s decision-makers here didn’t seem to get the point of establishing a new identity for Enola. While using Sherlock’s classic line may be in line with the source material, it, unfortunately, does little to differentiate Millie Bobby Brown’s character from her established older sleuth sibling.
Sherlock Holmes was woven into the story quite well. Unfortunately, his presence may have led to the belief that Enola couldn’t handle things on her own. A school of thought may emerge that Miss Holmes is incapable, emotional, instinctive, and careless, but it is these elements that make a character unique. Even though I say it was woven in well, the connection seemed too convenient.
Director Harry Bradbeer took things a bit overboard with the romance thread between Enola and Lord Viscount Tewkesbury. From training to fight in the carriage, the lip lock they engaged in whilst heading to a dangerous location seemed forced and unnecessary. They could have retained it for the part after the fighting and before the summation.
Helena Bonham Carter’s character was severely underused across Enola Holmes 2. She should have had way more screen time, possibly even more than Henry Cavill. The Eudoria-Enola combination would have carved a niche for this franchise, rather than lumping in Sherlock Holmes to use his iconic name to establish the Enola Holmes film series.
The breaking of the fourth wall has some bad elements as well. It felt a tad overdone in a few places, but all it takes is one thing to set off the audience. However, the pros outweigh the cons in a big way.
Should you watch the Millie Bobby Brown and Henry Cavill film?
Action, comedy, social commentary, romance, and entertainment- Enola Holmes 2 has it all and excels in more ways than one. At a shade over two hours, audiences will not feel the 120+ minutes from start credits to end credits.
Watch it to see Millie Bobby Brown own another character and witness the magic of Henry Cavill. The British actor can seem to do no wrong with calls potentially emerging for Netflix to retain him as Sherlock Holmes. Superman may have departed as Geralt (The Witcher), but the streamer can retain his services as the world’s most famous sleuth.
Enola Holmes 2, a pleasing film for all ages, features dreary detective work, with a blend of rollicking fun. The Enola Holmes franchise is here to stay.
Enola Holmes 2 is now streaming on Netflix.