Netflix UK film review: Enola Holmes 2
Charlotte Harrison | On 05, Nov 2022
Director: Harry Bradbeer
Cast: Millie Bobby Brown, Henry Cavill, Louis Partridge, Helena Bonham Carter, David Thewlis
Sometimes a sequel will adapt from what came before. Having built the world and established the characters, there’s now room to breathe and grow. Learning lessons and further developing what worked. That’s why film two is often the best in a series – Star Wars, Godfather, Toy Story and Paddington are just some of the examples. Other times the sequel will be a retread of exactly what went on before. Enola Holmes 2 is both. Sort of.
We return to Enola (Millie Bobby Brown) mid-action, running from the police. There’s then a fourth-wall break, a record scratch-esque moment as she looks to us and says “perhaps I should explain” before we cut back to how we got here. This moment epitomises what’s both good and bad in this soon to-be franchise. The knowing tone of Brown’s arch delivery meets the style over substance of the film’s storytelling.
About a year has passed since we were last with Enola. She’s set up a detective agency and it is her sole focus, keeping all distractions at bay – including the dashing Lord Tewkesbury (Louis Partridge). However, things still aren’t working – she’s rejected by potential clients for being too young or too female. Just as she is about to give up, a young match girl provides her with a case – helping her to find her missing older sister. The case will lead Enola to entering all manners of society, negotiating grave peril and colliding with her famous older brother (Henry Cavill).
The film makes the smart choice of near-forgetting eldest brother Mycroft (played by Sam Claflin in the first film). Instead, the focus is on Enola and Cavill’s Sherlock. And, although it’s her name on the poster, there are two character additions here that suggest the focus of future films may continue to be on the latter. In fact, at times, this setting the groundwork halts the film down as it’s so heavy-handed.
The film’s target demographic is the teen market and there’s just enough to succeed in its appeal. There’s a sweet burgeoning romance, all manner of hijinks and some very sweet sibling interplay. The costumes are gorgeous, the sets immersive and the fights engaging. However, the plot doesn’t feel substantial enough to warrant a 128-minute runtime and, although there is an undercurrent of feminism and social consciousness included with the noblest of intentions, it continues to be in the manner of #girlboss.
The end result is a sequel that is fine, doing exactly the job it sets out to do. A historical-ish romp with enough breezy adventure to entertain most of the family.