Review: Enola Holmes 2, and Sherlock too

Millie Bobby Brown in Enola Holmes 2

Enola Holmes 2 takes up where the original film Enola Holmes left off. Enola, played with madcap exuberance by Millie Bobby Brown, opens her own detective agency and waits eagerly for clients to arrive. She breaks the fourth wall to share her thoughts and eyerolls with the audience.

Enola Holmes 2 sets up its intended YA audience with the origin story leading up to the famed Sherlock Holmes (Henry Cavill) saga. Not something I needed, but many younger viewers (especially those who don’t read much) will benefit from the information in the story.

Enola obtains no clients in her new detective agency. She’s closing up shop for good when young Bessie Chapman (Serrana Su-Ling Bliss) arrives at her door. Bessie is looking for her missing sister Sarah Chapman (Hannah Dodd). Of course, Enola takes the case.

The Game is Afoot

Sarah Chapman is based on a real woman who organized the first workers’ strike ever. It was in a match factory where the women workers were dying because of the type of phosphorus used to make the matches. This true bit of history is blended into Enola Holmes 2 using imagery borrowed straight from Norma Rae.

While searching for Sarah Chapman, Enola runs into trouble with the police, gets arrested for murder, and escapes from their clutches multiple times.

She chats up Lord Tewkesbury (Louis Partridge) at every opportunity. She denies to everyone that she likes him, but that isn’t how the two of them act.

Henry Cavill, Millie Bobby Brown, and Louis Partridge in Enola Holmes 2
It isn’t a song, it’s a map. See?

Enola realizes she can’t solve her case without her brother, Sherlock. And Sherlock is working on a case that he can’t solve alone. They help each other. They don’t know it at first, but the two cases are related.

The policeman, Grail (David Thewlis), chases Enola all over the place to get her hanged or shot. Is he in on the match factory corruption? Grail is known to Enola’s mother, Eudoria Holmes (Helena Bonham Carter) as a bad cop.

Helena Bonham Carter and Millie Bobby Brown in Enola Holmes 2
It’s a car chase! No, wait. It’s a horse chase.

Eudoria and Enola’s friend and martial arts teacher Edith (Susan Wokoma) break Enola out of prison. That provides the equivalent of a car chase, except it involves wagons and horses and the evil Grail who shoots bullets out of his cane.

Enola is getting good at spotting clues and making inferences, with tutoring from her brother. But neither of them catch on quickly to what Grail’s assistant, Mira Troy (Sharon Duncan-Brewster), is doing. (Mira Troy is an anagram. Can you solve it?)

By the time all the clues and evidence are found and deduced, and after the obligatory big fight scene, Enola and Sherlock decide they should work together more often.

It isn’t until mid credits at the end that we meet Himesh Patel, who plays a character we will certainly see more of in the future.

I have failed to mention the policeman, Lestrade (Adeel Akhtar). He contributes a great deal to making this film funny. Humor also comes from the trope filled nature of the storytelling, from Enola’s interactions with the audience, and quick sight gags like the happy-to-crossdress boy who trades his clothes for Enola’s.

Like the previous film, this was written for the screen by Jack Thorne. Harry Bradbeer directed. The film, which is on Netflix, clocks in a a bit over two hours long. In case you haven’t seen the trailer, it’s on YouTube. If you need a bit of fun, check out this movie.

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