Rating: 4 out of 5.

2020’s Enola Holmes holds a special place in my heart for a variety of reasons. My late mother recommended it to me several times over—though I did not get to view it for the first time until after her passing in November, I fell in love with its depiction of a young investigator living in her awful brother Sherlock’s shadow. Thanks to Millie Bobby Brown’s charismatic, charming turn as both narrator of the story and young on-screen Enola, that movie was supercharged with a rare kind of energy one does not often see from Netflix productions. Flash forward almost exactly two year later, and Enola Holmes 2 easily manages to capture the same lightning-in-a-bottle feel that first movie had. The formula slides into franchise territory by maintaining the same light-hearted tone.

Barely any time seems to have passed since Enola (Brown, Stranger Things, Godzilla: King of the Monsters) cracked her first case, a twisty caper that put Enola’s life on the line on more than one occasion. Her budding detective agency appears a sad failure. The clientele was more interested in Enola’s famous brother, whom they believe to have been responsible for solving the majority of the cases, including one Enola herself quite clearly was personally responsible for. Her mother, Eudoria (Helena Bonham Carter, Sweeney Todd, Harry Potter), still on the run and her romance with Lord Tewkesbury (Louis Partridge, Pan, Paddington 2) placed primly on the back burner, Enola is in the midst of packing up shop when her second real case arrives in the form of an adorable young girl (Serrana Su-Ling Bliss), searching for her lost sister.

Enola happily takes this new case, insisting that she does not need to worry about payment. An unraveling conspiracy seems afoot, somehow entangled in the local match factory. In order to solve the mysteries, Enola is forced to work again once more with her insufferable cocky older brother, Sherlock (Henry Cavill, Man of Steel, Mission: Impossible – Fallout). Thankfully this time around, Sherlock has formed into a much nicer person. Though at times a drunken mess, he does at least seem willing to work with Enola. He is also stuck on a case he cannot crack—completely organic to the plot, their two separate cases seem to be somehow connected.

Again sparingly used, seasoned actress Helena Bonham Carter plays Enola’s mother Eudoria. The gleeful woman pops up every time that Enola is in need of important sage advice; sometimes, the gesture is quite literal, while other times Enola only imagines Eudoria helping her through flashback. Carter could do this kind of role in her sleep, and her warmness easily bleeds through to make Eudoria a memorable, exciting character to watch. Equally successful is the return of Lord Tewkesbury, whose chemistry with Enola is vital in the film, especially during the second half. I loved Louis Partridge in his role in the first movie, and here he returns to the iconic character as Enola’s pining love interest. Partridge and Brown are an adorable match—sparks fly during their reunion for simple dance practice, and I was rooting for them to finally lock lips for much of the runtime. 

Everything about Enola Holmes 2 feels bigger in scale than the original. I know my mom would have loved this one, too. Writing team Jack Thorne and Nancy Springer return to give this sequel a similar tone, while of course journeying into unexplored territory that requires personal growth on Enola’s part. Connections feel entirely plot-relevant, and the mystery time-period appropriate. Director Harry Bradbeer also returns, presenting a clear understanding of what makes Sherlock mysteries so captivating in the first place. Whatever comes next from here, I am fully on board with it after this fun, subversive second go-round. Whether that means seeing more of Enola’s interpersonal relationships or just following the young girl on the next stage of her life’s journey, I am willing to travel wherever Netflix takes us next.

Enola Holmes starts her second case when Enola Holmes 2 puzzle-solves its way to Netflix on Friday, November 4th.

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