Okay, I might have called the first one ‘fun’ too, but there aren’t many words in the English dictionary capture its meaning the same way. Synonyms be damned. Even the primary antagonist in ‘Enola Holmes 2’ simply smirks and says ‘IT WAS FUN’, after the detectives expose the villain.
Directed by Harry Bradbeer, the 2022 Netflix sequel sees Milly Bobby Brown reprising her role as Enola and Henry Cavill plays the more famous older brother Sherlock. Enola runs her own detective agency, but since she lives in Victorian era London, when women had little agency, nobody trusts her to investigate their case. And when Ms Holmes finally decides to shut shop for good, a little girl turns up in her office, seeking help in finding her older sister who worked at a matchstick factory. What starts off as a simple ‘missing person’ case, turns into a dangerous complex game with many players and Enola gets entangled in a web of corruption and murders. She’ll need help to keep out of trouble and it might mean turning to her brother for help… among others.
Netflix users are familiar with Milly Bobby Brown from ‘Stranger Things’, and she slips effortlessly into Enola’s character, who is a cheery spirited teenager, poles apart from dark angst-y Eleven she plays in the popular horror-fantasy series. She breaks the fourth wall with ease, and keeps things entertaining. Helena Bonham Carter and Susana Wokoma also reprise their feisty feminist roles as Eudora Holmes and Edith. Their cameos are brief but thrilling, especially because they get to beat the bad guys. Who doesn’t love watching women kick some ass? And in a wise decision, the handsome Lord Tewkesberry (Louse Partridge) also finds his place in the cast; he is exceedingly endearing around Enola. David Thewlis is wickedly despicable as corrupt cop Grail, while Hannah Dodd blends into the background and is quite forgettable in her cameo, but it was expected of her character.
As far as the mystery-investigative part of the film concerned, a lot of elements were predictable and the story isn’t as clever as the makers want it to be. There was a definite attempt to re-create the kind of intrigue and awe Benedict Cumberbatch’s ‘Sherlock’ stirred up in viewers, but the results aren’t as effective. It’s the characters, their banter and Enola’s charm as an individualistic free-spirited young woman which make the story worth a watch. The theme is also interesting, while the first one was about a privileged rich boy, this time the focus is on exploitation of women workers in factories.
From purely an entertainment point of view, ‘Enola Holmes’ is proving to be a great ‘watch with the family’ kind of franchise and I would love to watch a part 3, 4 and many more. Especially if they can keep the primary cast intact, since Milly Bobby Brown and Henry Cavill makes a delightful sibling duo. Like Cavill’s character suggests in the film – maybe the makers should also think of a ‘Holmes & Holmes’ series.
It’s a 7.5/10 from me. Stream it on Netflix.
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