Millie Bobby Brown returns as Enola, the second-best detective in the Holmes family, for another round of puzzle solving and adventure
The Holmes family are privileged, uniquely brilliant and collectively dysfunctional. While the first Enola Holmes (review) dealt with much of the sibling rivalry and family politics, this sequel moves on into slightly different territory. Enola has found acceptance within her own family and is now trying to find her place in wider society. But what do you do when you want to make your name as a detective and your older brother is already world famous for doing it brilliantly?
Enola Holmes 2 sees Millie Bobby Brown return as the determined incomparable Enola. The film builds on the foundations laid by the first movie (with a few flashbacks) so while it’s not essential, I would recommend watching the first movie before this. Director Harry Bradbeer returns to spearhead this follow up with most of the essential cast returning including Henry Cavil as Sherlock and Helena Bonham Carter as Eudoria Holmes, the renegade matriarch of the Holmes clan.
The sequel finds Enola trying to set up her own detective agency following on from her successful case in the first movie. She runs into the issues you would image a lady would face in the 1800s, such as being female when women are considered 2nd class citizens, her age, and the fact she has the same last name as the world’s most famous detective.
Unable to secure a second case, she is about to shut up shop and return home when she is approached by a penniless young girl who asks Enola to take the case of her missing sister. The case turns out to be part of a much wider conspiracy involving murder, politics and greed with plenty of twists and turns along the way, with a mystery so big she needs to enlist the help of her big brother Sherlock.
This is certainly a triumphant return for Enola Holmes. Millie demonstrates why she is quite possibly Netflix’s best discovery and most bankable individual star as she dazzles, charms and delights across the screen in a role which all but seems built for her now. The move itself unfortunately isn’t what you would describe as a classic or ‘a must see’. It more than matches and in some ways surpasses the original with deeper character development, more set pieces and a more important, timelier story. But it somehow seems to lose some of the originals magic, joy and innocence.
There will be some who find stories of women fighting for equal rights in society as being tiresome or too ‘woke’ but interestingly enough, it tends to be those who have either benefited from oppressed groups or feel some level of guilt who don’t like to hear stories of ‘uprisings’. Much of the movie focuses on the young ladies working in the matchstick factories at the time and their horrible treatment there and is based on the true story of the Matchgirls strike in the 1800 which was the first organised industrial action by working women.
It may seem strange that a film about a woman trying to find her own way in the world, would increase the roles of its male co-stars, with both Henry Cavils ‘Sherlock’ and Lewis Patridge’s ‘Lord Tewkesbury’ both been given expanded roles. But that actually lines up with another central theme of the film which is the importance of asking for help not trying to do it all yourself and building a good support team.
Enola Holmes 2 doesn’t set out to be anything more than it is, which is a family friendly fun filled detective story. Its unashamedly silly at times and even the more serious parts are handled with a lighter touch so as to never lean to much toward the dark or heavy side of typical murder mysteries. The story is rounded up satisfactorily with the same doors left open as the first for a potential third movie.
With Cavil’s heavier involvement in this film, the question remains as to whether he would return for a third part. He doesn’t appear to have the same level of commitment and loyalty to Netflix that Millie does, as he prepares to return to the big screen as Superman. But that may not matter, as with Millie Bobby Brown, Netflix have a very watchable star who is equally charming and talented. While this film touched on the privileged position of the Holmes family in comparison to the other people around them. Enola never really felt in danger despite some of the peril she faced, any three-quel would benefit from finding a way to somehow raise the stakes.
Enola Holmes is a solid sequel, not spectacular but Netflix will no doubt rely on its stars to sell this film and the committed performances from the likes of Henry Cavil, Helena Bohan Carter and the fabulous Millie Bobby Brown deliver a fantastic fun night for all the family.