Movie review: ‘Enola Holmes 2’ is a delightful sequel

The first Enola Holmes movie — featuring the younger sister of famous literary detective Sherlock Holmes — premiered in the midst of the nightmare of a year that was 2020, in a world still upended by the COVID pandemic when theatrical film releases were few and far between. 

Enola Holmes caught my attention right away. I’ve loved most of the recent Sherlock Holmes adaptations (the Robert Downey Jr./Guy Ritchie take was surprisingly fun, and the modernized BBC version starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman was a masterpiece — well, mostly). I was really impressed with Millie Bobby Brown’s performance in Stranger Things and was excited to see her in a period drama like Enola Holmes. Also, I’m a simple woman: I see the phrase “starring Henry Cavill” and hit “play,” even if he did seem like an unconventional choice to play Sherlock Holmes at first. 

I have to be honest: I got about halfway through Enola Holmes and fell asleep. I don’t think that was necessarily the movie’s fault; 2020 was a rough year for my mental and physical health, and I might have been so exhausted and stressed I just fell asleep on the couch. Nevertheless, Enola Holmes wasn’t *quite* compelling enough to entice me back, and I never went back to finish it. 

That is, until I saw the trailer for Enola Holmes 2 and thought, “That looks really fun. Maybe I should give the first one another chance so I can watch the sequel.”

I found that I did enjoy my second attempt at Enola Holmes a lot more. It wasn’t earth-shattering per se, but I had a good time watching it and was excited to watch part 2. 

Good news — Enola Holmes 2 is even better than the first, and I absolutely loved it and already want to watch it again. All the good things about the first movie are dialed up a notch or two, and it’s an action-packed, fun-filled adventure with some good performances and a plot that borrows from real historical events. 

One of the things I appreciate about this franchise so far is that it uses just the right amount of Sherlock Holmes as a character to flavor the story without him completely taking over the plot. This is still very much Enola’s story, and Millie Bobby Brown is allowed to shine in her role. It’s fun to see a young female detective in the Victorian era finding ways to fight back against the constraints of society and be an advocate for other young women who don’t have a voice. 

I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about Henry Cavill as Sherlock Holmes, but I actually really like the performance. I adore Benedict Cumberbatch and his cool, calculating Holmes, but it’s also nice to see Cavill’s warmer take on the character and his genuine affection for his sister. 

Also, I’m a sucker for a love story, and I thought Enola’s romance with young politician Lord Tewkesbury was sweet without being cheesy. Their banter is a lot of fun, and it was cool to see them working together on cases. 

Also, when I realized that famous Holmes adversary Moriarty would be showing up in the sequel, I was a little concerned. (Does it always have to be Moriarty?) However, without giving anything away, there’s a really clever twist involving the film’s use of this character, and I’m glad it was included, with hopefully more to come!

I don’t really have any complaints about this movie, and it will probably end up in my top list of movies/TV shows I’ve watched this year. It was just one of those movies that made me smile the whole time I was watching it, and I already want to see more. I’d love to see Millie Bobby Brown and Henry Cavill team up every couple years for a new Holmes and Holmes adventure, similar to Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman’s team-ups for the BBC series. I’m also hoping to maybe check out some of the books this film franchise was inspired by. 

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