With a terrific cast and solid production, the sequel to 2020’s Enola Holmes makes for fun viewing.
Starring: Millie Bobby Brown, Henry Cavill, David Thewlis, Louis
Partridge, Susie Wokoma, Adeel Akhtar, Sharon Duncan-Brewster, and Helena Bonham Carter
Directed by: Harry Bradbeer
he ridiculously charming Millie Bobby Brown returns as Enola Holmes for the second adventure of the feisty young detective in a delightful film that delivers two hours of amicable entertainment alongside a quick history lesson.
Like its predecessor, the new instalment finds inspiration in real-life events – “Some of what follows is true. The important parts at least,” the title card tells us – and wraps it in a fictional mystery. At the helm of the adventure, once again, is Nancy Springer’s heroine who is, in turn, tied to the endlessly fascinating universe created by the brilliant Arthur Conan Doyle more than a century ago.
We return to Victorian-era London, as a dejected Enola is struggling to keep her detective agency afloat due to a crippling lack of clients, unlike her famous brother Sherlock (Henry Cavill) who is drowning in cases and continuing to make headlines. But just when she is about to throw in the towel, her luck turns with the arrival of a young match girl. Bessie (Serrana Su-Ling Bliss) shows up to seek Enola’s help in finding her missing sister, Sarah Chapman, who, like Bessie, works at a match factory that is currently experiencing a typhus epidemic, and also moonlights as a dancer.
As Enola attempts to piece together the clues, she uncovers a bigger conspiracy, one that intercepts with a case her elder brother is struggling to solve. Her mother, Eudoria (Helena Bonham Carter), meanwhile, is still on the run and continuing her fight for women’s rights; Tewkesbury (Louis Partridge) is still a nincompoop; and Mycroft is conspicuously absent (because of Sam Claflin’s scheduling conflicts).
The movie further develops its interesting characters while shedding light on the historical exploitation of the working class, offering lessons on solidarity and support, and even coming up with a smart twist on an old nemesis, cleverly using our knowledge of the Sherlock Holmes canon against us.
The costumes and sets are both on point, and the main cast, across the board, is terrific.
Brown is perfect as the fourth-wall-breaking protagonist, and Cavill is so excellent as the celebrated detective that the film makes you wish he’d get his own Sherlock spinoff.
Parts of it may be a tad predictable and it may wear its morals on its sleeve, but, all in all, Enola Holmes 2 is one of those rare sequels that actually build on the foundation laid by their predecessor, deliver a satisfying new chapter, and leave you looking forward to the inevitable next instalment.
Rating system: *Not on your life * ½ If you really must waste your time ** Hardly worth the bother ** ½ Okay for a slow afternoon only
*** Good enough for a look see *** ½ Recommended viewing **** Don’t miss it **** ½ Almost perfect ***** Perfection