The younger sister of the world’s greatest detective Sherlock Holmes is back and this time, she is more socially awkward, oblivious to customs but ‘detectively’ more experienced, making Enola Holmes 2 an interesting affair. Introduced to the Netflix folks in 2020, the whip-smart girl detective makes her ‘second’ debut as a female detective and creates history, without even knowing it. How she makes everyone she knows proud, and takes a stand for what she believes is right, is what makes the second coming of the character more interesting. And no, the compliments have nothing to do with an irresistible Henry Cavill as the elder brother.
Enola Holmes (Millie Bobby Brown) decides to open her own detective agency which doesn’t work because her age, her gender, and her inexperience doesn’t help. However, when Bessie Chapman (Serrana Su-Ling Bliss) hires her to find her sister Sarah (Hannah Dodd), she decides to use all her resources to solve the case. What she doesn’t realize is that there is more to the disappearance of a factory girl, and it might be connected to another case, his elder brother Sherlock (Henry Cavill) is working on.
Despite her brother’s warning, Enola digs deeper and forges a connection with the client which takes her to the gallows but only makes her certain that she is on the right track. The steps she takes from there result in making her second adventure so compelling, and while she joins hands with old friends, she learns a lot on the way, making Enola Holmes 2 a not to be missed affair, if you are a fan of detective mystery.
She may not be a creation of the same author, but had Sir Arthur Conan Doyle been alive, he would have approved of Enola Holmes, Sherlock Holmes’s sister, created by Nancy Springer. Although she was introduced to the world more than a century after her twenty-year older, more famous brother made his appearance, she shares the same traits and the same taste. Hence, the films featuring her do justice to the character, and Millie Bobby Brown must be commended for that since she is both the producer and the person playing that character. Not only does she make the viewers forget her character in Stranger Things, she effortlessly takes them into Victorian-era London, something which might be difficult for new actors.
The decision not to bring back the eldest Holmes sibling Mycroft was a good one since he wasn’t much of a help in the previous adventure, and this gave the audience more time to focus on Sherlock and Enola. Henry Cavill’s presence gave the audience something to look forward to and he doesn’t disappoint at all. In an alternate timeline, this might be his film, because he shows his prowess whenever he could as the ‘greatest detective in the world.’ Adeel Akhtar as the bumbling Lestrade and Helena Bonham Carter as Enola and Sherlock’s mother have limited screen presence but they manage to impress with their performances. The way the Victorian era was presented takes you back to the days when Jeremy Brett used to play Sherlock Homes, and when dependency on Visual Effects was limited. And then there is the historical angle in the plot for which one must commend director Harry Bradbeer and writer Jack Thorne. Weaving the story of Sarah Chapman into the plot was more or less something Sir Arthur Conan Doyle used to do. The writer intelligently used the issues females faced back in the day in their plot and presented them in such a way that it doesn’t look outdated to the viewers. Neither do the action sequences, be it the scene where Enola and her mother throw bombs at their pursuers, or the one at the climax that reminds one of the classic Hollywood films of the past.
The worst thing about Enola Holmes 2 is that the main antagonist is not someone associated with the youngest Holmes, and the fact that one of Sherlock’s adversaries was used in the film shows that the makers weren’t comfortable giving Enola her own baddie. The Enola-specific villain Superintendent Grail (David Thewlis) is a new addition here but he sometimes reminds you of Thomson and Thompson, the bumbling detectives from Tin Tin comics. You don’t get to know why he hates Enola so much that he sends her to the gallows nor how her mother knows him, but it all sort of makes sense at the climax when he finally reveals his motives.
The writer forgot that since Enola Holmes 2 is a Netflix venture and would be seen across the world, he could have used a familiar conspiracy behind the mystery instead of one that not many abroad knew about. Considering myself an avid Sherlock Holmes fan who makes it his job to read about everything that happened in the Victorian era, I even had to search about the exploits of Sarah Chapman. There was also the fewer scene issue of both Helena Bonham Carter and Louis Partridge who deserved more screen time than they ultimately got. Also, in some places, it seemed that the director forgot which Holmes was the protagonist, but thankfully, by the time the film ends, he gets his priorities right.
The Verdict 4/5
It is always hard to come up with a better sequel but the makers of Enola Holmes managed to improve on the first film. The character evolves from the first film, where Enola was shown as a young girl looking for her mother, while she has her own detective agency in the second, where she cracks her ‘first’ case. The chemistry between Millie Bobby Brown and Henry Cavill is one of the few things that was missing in the original and makes you wonder how different things would have been had Sherlock Holmes actually had a sister, at the time when Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was writing the stories. What’s certain is that fans of a good mystery will have a great time watching this flick, because here, ‘the game has found its feet again!’ -Ends