ENOLA BROWN 2 (2022) l Netflix | November 4, 2022
Starring: Millie Bobby Brown, Henry Cavill, Louis Partridge, Helena Bonham Carter
Director: Harry Bradbeer
Now a detective-for-hire like her infamous brother, Enola Holmes takes on her first official case to find a missing girl, as the sparks of a dangerous conspiracy ignite a mystery that requires the help of friends — and Sherlock himself — to unravel.
REVIEW BY: Darren Zakus
Enola Holmes 2 manages not only to capture the infectious spirit of the first film that made it a runaway hit, but develops a more complex intriguing mystery that surpasses the first film in every way imaginable, once again featuring a dazzling performance from Millie Bobby Brown.
What made the first Enola Holmes film such an entertaining two hours was the character of Enola herself: free spirited, determined, as intelligent as her legendary older brother Sherlock, but also incredibly compassionate and willing to stand up for what she believes in. And while the sequel spins a far more complex mystery for both Enola and Sherlock to solve, Enola’s spirit is never for a second sacrificed, resulting in a film that I personally enjoyed more than the original. Now a real detective in London with her own shop, Enola is hired by a young girl to track down her sister who has been missing for a week. However, as Enola begins her investigation, she quickly discovers that the missing girl was wrapped up in a far larger conspiracy that will require not only the help of her friends to solve, but that of Sherlock, for her to find the truth and see this girl found safely.
It’s a grand mystery from the start, with lots of clues carefully laid out that viewers will casually dismiss, but in the great style of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle himself, they are the most important clues that both Enola and Sherlock see that will be later revealed to the audience. While the mystery of the first film felt somewhat juvenile in scale, this film gives Enola a mystery as complex and deadly as the ones that Sherlock himself has solved. It gives both the character and Millie Bobby Brown meaty material to work with, as the audience is taken on a thrilling ride. Woven into Enola’s mystery is Sherlock’s own mystery, making him a co-lead to Enola rather than the supporting, caring older brother he was in the first film. Never for a second does Sherlock steal Enola’s spotlight as this firmly remains her film, but watching the two Holmes siblings team up to crack the case is worth the price of admission alone.
And much like the first film, this is clearly only the latest case for Enola with many more to come with brief introduction of characters from the Sherlock Holmes stories that we have yet to see in this iteration of the character that will play a large role in the all but announced sequel I’m sure Netflix has ready to be put into pre-production. Also, I admired how the feminist history was woven into this mystery, providing context to the world that Enola is living in, both displaying and educating viewers on the feminist movement in Victorian England.
As with the first film, Brown is nothing short of spectacular as Enola. In every scene, she is bursting with energy and life, displaying the magnetic personality that makes her a true movie star far beyond her age. Her wit and fourth wall breaks continue to be outstanding, allowing her to live up to the Holmes name in every way imaginable. At the same time, Brown captures the vulnerable and emotional side of Enola, crafting a character that is impossible not to fall in love with. Brown may have made a name for herself playing Eleven on Stranger Things, but Enola is her best performance and I hope she continues to play this character for years to come.
Benefiting from a much larger role this time around is Henry Cavill as Sherlock, and he has solidified himself as my favourite actor to take on this iconic role. Cavill has a calm and connectedness to his Sherlock, with just a hint of arrogance, makes for the most intellectually captivating portrayal of this iconic detective to grace the big screen. Never mind that he underscores his entire performance for an earnest love and desire to protect his younger sister, while also not squashing that inquisitive nature of his that he sees in her. I know Cavill is about to become very busy now that he is officially back as Clark Kent/Superman in the DC Extended Universe, but like Brown, I want Cavill to keep portraying this character for years to come.
As a duo, Brown and Cavill are absolutely incredible! Forget Holmes and Watson, I want more of Enola and Sherlock! The banter back and forth between Bobby and Cavill is so playful as they try to intellectually one up each other, to great comedic effect, while also developing a beautiful brother-sister relationship. There is no denying that Brown and Cavill are the stars of the film, but the supporting cast is every bit as great as they are. Helena Bonham Carter is once again a ton of fun as Eudoria Holmes, capturing the rebel rouser spirit with ease and excitement that made Enola the young woman she is. Adeel Akhtar nails the bumbling nature of Inspector Lestrade, while David Thewlis is chilling as Scotland Yard’s Grail, one of Enola’s adversaries in the film. Louis Partridge is once again charming as Viscount Tewkesbury, who has some fiery chemistry with Brown that makes their characters’ blossoming romance come to life on screen. And Sharon Duncan-Brewster is outstanding in her supporting role, but showing her formidable talents as an actress that I hope we get to see more of in the future of the franchise.
As evidenced in the first film, but the artistic vision of this film is mesmerizing. The costume design is absolutely exquisite in recreating the gorgeous ball costumes and all of the costumes to capture the styles of Victorian England are outstanding. The set design captures the grittiness of the underworld of England that Enola and Sherlock are investigating with grand sets, despite a few moments of obvious CGI to extend the world created by physical sets. And once again, Daniel Pemberton’s score is a musical delight, capturing both the quirkiness and endearing nature of Enola as well as the darkness prevalent at the heart of this film’s main mystery.
It is rare for sequels to outperform their predecessor, but Enola Holmes not only does everything that the first film did correct, but expands and pushes the story and characters in exciting new directions that makes for an absolutely thrilling experience from start to finish. Needless to say, but I’m already ready for Enola Holmes 3 and cannot wait to see what mystery Enola and Sherlock will solve next. Millie Bobby Brown and Henry Cavill shine both individually with outstanding performances and together as one of the best on screen pairings of the year, that combined with a more mature mystery that maintains the heart of Enola herself while giving her a mystery worthy of Sherlock being on the case, Enola Holmes 2 is simply elemental that makes for one of the most entertaining films of the year!
RATING: 4.5 out of 5