Millie Bobby Brown showed in the first Enola Holmes movie, which was released on Netflix in the gloomy months of 2020, that she could carry an entire movie on the strength of her personality alone. Enola Holmes 2 is the second sequel of the Enola Holmes series. The young actress blazed through a lukewarm mystery, one whose tepid twists and straightforward conclusions only heightened her radiance, as Sherlock Holmes’s frequently smart, occasionally irresponsible younger sister, a noncanonical character invented by author Nancy Springer in 2006.
We could just enjoy Brown’s performance, which was full of grins, darting eyes, and playful asides to the audience since we didn’t really need to concentrate on the details of the case (who the heck really had the mental energy to do so at the time?). Though the movie itself wasn’t all that creative, its star was.
The first sequel of Enola Holmes 2
The first movie focused on a very inexperienced Enola as she looked into the disappearance of her obstinate mother (Helena Bonham Carter), and the plot mostly revolved around Enola’s ignorance. She offered us an innocent, occasionally thunderstruck view of this staid Victorian society. Enola Holmes opens her own detective agency in Enola Holmes 2, hoping to someday achieve her brother Sherlock’s level of success (played again by Henry Cavill).
With its elaborate plot, ambitious action sequences, and historically relevant setting, one could claim that this new movie makes an attempt to be closer to a normal mystery. But in the end, it still depends on the charisma of its youthful star to live or perish. Even though the luster is a little off this time around, it largely flourishes.
The story of Enola Holmes 2
Enola’s most recent case is once again a missing-persons investigation; this time, it concerns the disappearance of a young lady called Sarah Chapman (Hannah Dodd), who worked during the day at a sizable match factory and at night at a dance club. Enola goes undercover and discovers the packed, typhoid-devastated warehouse where Sarah toiled away at her demanding assembly-line work. She instantly develops suspicions that Sarah’s abduction was connected to illicit activities at the match factory. Naturally, Sherlock himself becomes involved over time, and Cavill makes the most of his wink-wink miscasting by portraying the renownedly intellectual, unstacked investigator as a terse, brainy, hefty bruiser.
This time, David Thewlis, who is always up for a good time, joins in on the fun as a snarling, evil Scotland Yard commissioner who doesn’t even bother to conceal his disdain for Enola.
Enola Holmes 2: Movie review
As a result, the performances continue to be endearing. Bonham Carter also makes an appearance for a brief action sequence, and the movie, despite its ambitious plot, appears to recognize that its cast, especially its protagonist, is its greatest asset. Brown isn’t nearly the innocent marvel of the last movie when her greatest strengths were her young innocence and zeal. But the actress keeps finding humor in the fusion of the ancient and contemporary.
Her dated mannerisms don’t come off as precious, eager-to-please attempts to win over the audience, but rather as vulnerable moments: Enola is still a young girl attempting to maintain her composure but frequently failing to do so; she breaks, but she breaks in character. The continual back-and-forth between politeness and desperation makes a scene in which Enola is caught mid-cake nibble while semi-stalking her parliamentary crush, Tewkesbury (Louis Partridge), funny. Enola struggles to comprehend the coded language of hand fans during an undercover mission at a classy society event (yep, another wonderfully unnecessary “‘Tis I!” unmasking), and she awkwardly tries to speak with a man who she believes to be her main suspect.
Brown’s performance’s power and vigor even serve to mask director Harry Bradbeer’s occasionally choppy, frantic directing. He slashes through every scene too quickly, as if concerned that we would get weary of the Victoriana he’s obviously spent a tonne of time and money recreating. However, the purchase order never actually mentioned atmosphere, did it? Bradbeer, who also directed Fleabag, is basically there to highlight the star’s fourth-wall-breaking act, which he does admirably and successfully.
And perhaps there is another way in which the movie’s quick, “never lingering on anything” pace works. Attempts to add up-to-date elements to these kinds of stories frequently soon become really unpleasant (and there will surely be those for whom the Enola Holmes movies will feel like cynical attempts to fuse Gen-Z attitude with the period atmosphere). Enola was placed in a diversely cast world of legislative reformers and ass-kicking women’s rights activists in the first movie, which had a light current political edge.
The most recent one goes further: The brutal capitalism of the match factory leaves an imprint on both Enola and the audience; it is sad that Sarah’s younger sister Bessie (Serrana Su-Ling Bliss), who is also a penniless match-factory worker, is the one who first recruited Enola to investigate the crime. The film understands not to take itself too seriously and never comes across as a sanctimonious sermon about the Bad Old Days, but it still has heart. Even with all of its narrative flourishes and socially aware grace notes, Enola Holmes 2 is primarily a children’s film about a bright and resourceful girl who solves murders. And what sort of fuss budget could object to that?
Millie Bobby Brown, Robert Brown, Henry Cavill, Helena Bonham Carter, Harry Bradbeer, Harry Bradbeer, Mary Parent, Alex Garcia, Ali Mendes.
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