‘Enola Holmes 2’: Millie Bobby Brown Is Back on the Case in Superior Sequel
“It’s remarkable what can be done when people underestimate you” is an important line in “Enola Holmes 2” that sums up the spirit of the sequel. Millie Bobby Brown returns as the titular character, a plucky young detective in late 19th century England who, after having proven herself a sleuth worthy of the Holmes name in the first film, is still eager to come out from under the shadow of her famous brother, Sherlock (Henry Cavill). Her latest case, one inspired by real-life events, not only has potential to put her on the map, but also to impact and possibly save the lives of dozens of young women.
Enola’s story picks up with her opening her very own detective agency. Unfortunately, the public refuses to take her seriously due to her age and gender, and most who come through her doors just want to meet Sherlock. She is about to close up shop when she is visited by Bessie (Serrana Su-Ling Bliss), a young girl who works in a match factory. She enlists Enola to help find Sarah Chapman (Hannah Dobbs), her honorary older sister fellow “match girl.” Clues left behind by Sarah lead her to the home of her potential lover, William Lyon (Gabriel Tierney). There, she makes a shocking discovery, one that leads her down a twisty path that includes being wanted for a murder. Enola infiltrates both the lowest and highest rungs of society, and being a young woman mostly works to her advantage when it comes to staying under the radar.
Helping Enola crack the case is none other than Sherlock. In the last film, he was largely a passive character, but this time around he is more active. This sequel does a good job of showing how the siblings complement each other. While Sherlock mostly takes an analytical approach to examining clues, Enola has a higher emotional intelligence that greatly helps her. They both have had the benefit of being raised by an intelligent and independent mother, Eudoria (Helena Bonham Carter), who still has a great deal of wisdom to pass down.
Enola also receives assistance from Viscount Tewkesbury (Louis Partridge), now a rising star and champion of progressive causes in the House of Lords. He is able to help out when she needs an impromptu dance lesson in a bathroom, and she teaches him the basics of hand-to-hand combat. Brown and Partridge have an easy chemistry, and are absolutely adorable together as their characters deal with their romantic feelings for each other.
Overall, “Enola Holmes 2” is the rare sequel that is superior to its predecessor. Like Brown herself, Enola exudes more confidence and has really come into her own. But one of the best parts of the film is how it explores Victorian womanhood, celebrating and examining characters who break the mold, from the match girls who want a better quality of life, to the high society women who want buck tradition. All of this leads to Enola confronting an unlikely female villain, and a cheer-worthy ending inspired by a monumental historical event. Despite the setbacks she has faced, Enola has led a relatively comfortable life compared to someone like Bessie, and we see her use her privilege and smarts to help others, making her a fitting role model for young viewers.
“Enola Holmes 2” begins streaming Nov. 4 on Netflix.