• Nate Adams

'Enola Holmes 2' review: Mille Bobby Brown returns for lively, better than the original, sequel

Courtesy of Netflix

 

Capitalizing on the success of “Enola Holmes,” Netflix has spared no expense and wasted no time greenlighting a sequel after its predecessor became one of the streamers most watched titles during the doldrums of the pandemic in September 2020. Now a bonafide franchise within its scarce arsenal, the Sherlock Holmes-spin off gives Netflix something of notoriety to boast with the sequel offering up the same kind of sleuth schematics and high-flying fun showcased in “Enola Holmes,” though I’d argue “Enola Holmes 2” is a much stronger picture. It features an engaging, if moderately predictable, mystery for the young detective to solve and a solid dose of female empowerment. Millie Bobby Brown remains a force in the titular role and Henry Cavill is cooking up all sorts of hijinks as her big-brother, Sherlock Holmes, who has a much sizable presence this go-around unlike last time where he stayed on the sidelines.


Based on the popular YA series by Nancy Springer, “Enola Holmes 2” continues where the previous left-off, with the spunky Enola (Brown – more confident and poised than ever) following in her brother's footsteps and opening her own agency. However, as showcased in a speedy opening montage, the young detective undergoes intense scrutiny from the public. You see, it’s the 1800s and women are second-class citizens, so when potential clients arrive and see Enola is, well, a young lady, they either ask if her brother is available or hit the road. Name brand recognition isn’t enough to sustain the business model, but Enola catches a break when opportunity knocks in the form of a young girl whose sister has gone missing. They both work at a local matchstick factory and, of course, as the case deepens and true motives come to light, Enola uncovers a vast conspiracy theory. As they say, the game is afoot!


In these earlier scenes, it’s evident Netflix hasn’t gone the cheaper route with the sequel: a lively foot-chase through the streets of London are well constructed and boom with energy and the cast gets a major upgrade with the addition of David Thewlis playing a persnickety Inspector General. It makes for a more than watchable escapist and episodic interlude in the saga of Enola Homes where a third entry (and possible Cavill solo outing) are all but certain.


Returning director Harry Bradbeer again leans into the fourth-wall breaking mantra that’s now become a staple of the series and playwright-turned-screenwriter Jack Throne throws a few surprises reveals in for good measure and cheekily creates a mystery with real historical context (the matchgirls’ strike of 1888 is the foundation here). Brown makes for a strong Enola opposite Cavill who, when given something meaty to chew on outside of his poorly rendered Superman flicks, is an absolute blast to watch.


“Enola Homes 2” thrives while focusing on the main character's mental prowess and not silly diversions like a quirky romance with Lord Tewkesbury (Louis Patridge - fine) and the occasional brawl that pales when you remember Guy Ritchie’s hyper-sensatized “Sherlock Holmes” installments. Regardless, the table is set for another outing and if “Enola Homes 3” is half as inventive and sly as this sequel, Netflix’s pandemic pick-up might become one of their greatest assets.


Grade: B


ENOLA HOMES 2 hits Netflix Friday, November 4th.