While Enola Holmes 2 early reviews are divided on the film’s overall merit, they almost universally praise the connection between Millie Bobby Brown’s Enola and Henry Cavill’s Sherlock as the highlight of the soon-to-be-released sequel. Based on the young adult novels from author Nancy Springer, the Enola Holmes franchise builds on the fictional universe of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes and provides the brilliant detective with a younger sister who exhibits her own deductive prowess. Originally planned for theatrical release, the first Enola Holmes film was picked up by Netflix off the back of the COVID-19 pandemic and quickly became a massive success story for the streaming giant.
Talk of a potential sequel had begun even before the first Enola Holmes film was released, and Netflix eventually announced that Brown and Cavill would be returning for a second outing in May last year. Like the first film, Brown served double-duty as both star and producer, while original writer Jack Thorne and director Harry Bradbeer also returned to their respective roles. Picking up after the first film followed Enola solving her first mystery, Enola Holmes 2 sees the youngest Holmes attempt to make her mark by establishing her own detective agency in Victorian London.
With Enola Holmes 2 currently slated to be released worldwide on Netflix November 4, several members of the press have been able to view Brown’s latest outing in advance. While the first early reactions to the film vary as to whether it ultimately succeeds, almost all critics seem to agree that Cavill and Brown’s on-screen chemistry serves as the sequel’s biggest highlight. Check out some of the reactions below:
Molly Freeman, Screen Rant
Enola Holmes 2 includes more of Cavill’s Sherlock, who is more involved in the mystery of Sarah Chapman and, as a result, Enola’s life. Though Brown can lead the movie easily on her own — and she’s just as charming as in the first film — it’s a delight to see her and Cavill bring to life the sibling dynamic between Enola and Sherlock. Thorne’s script positions them as two sides of the same coin and the actors play those different, but similar, aspects of their characters very well. Their energy onscreen is ridiculously entertaining, especially in a scene where Enola helps Sherlock home after a night out.
Lovia Gyarkye, The Hollywood Reporter
With the increased stakes, Enola begrudgingly seeks Sherlock’s advice. Their loving but tense sibling dynamic is one of the most interesting parts of Enola Holmes 2: Brown and Cavill have a delightful on-screen dynamic that believably replicates the caustic communication style typical between older and younger siblings. The two don’t know how to connect and often end up misunderstanding or talking past each other, and it’s in those moments that we see Enola and Sherlock’s characters develop the most.
Arezou Amin, Collider
Even though Sherlock Holmes is a character we have seen in many incarnations, Cavill still manages to infuse him with something entirely his own. Yes, he is still clinically detached and obviously believes himself to be the most intelligent person in any room he enters, but underneath that all is a genuine current of affection for his younger sister. Not to mention, his version of Sherlock is actually funny. It’s easy to forget in all the tough-guy action roles that Cavill actually has great comedic timing, and the scenes where he and Brown get to play off each other are some of the most enjoyable.
Kate Erbland, IndieWire
Despite Enola’s desire to escape the shadow of her famous big brother, her own film franchise fails to emerge from Sherlock’s lurking presence; in fact, it’s not at all clear that it’s even the intent. Co-star Henry Cavill makes for a dashing Sherlock and his scenes with Brown are adorable, but too much of the film is preoccupied with diving into his own life and profession (which has plenty of adaptations already, thanks).
Ian Sandwell, Digital Spy
In the books, Sherlock and Enola have an antagonistic relationship as she attempts to stay one step ahead of him. The sequel develops the warmer side of Sherlock as Enola’s ward and while it might annoy fans of the books, it’s the strongest aspect of the sequel as the pair reluctantly team up.
Separate, Millie Bobby Brown and Henry Cavill are engaging to watch, but together, their chemistry and interplay elevates both of their already-strong performances. It’s telling that the sequences of their solo investigation feel dry compared to when they’re both on the case. Fear not, this is still Enola’s show, though, with Sherlock a supporting character.
Andrew Webster, The Verge
Which is all to say that while Enola Holmes as a franchise isn’t particularly groundbreaking, it is a lot of fun in a very specific way. And the sequel is able to get to that fun much quicker now that we already know most of the cast of characters. Brown and Cavill in particular have a great chemistry; the two bicker like real siblings, albeit ones who are exceptionally intelligent and fiercely independent. Watching Sherlock use his astonishing skills of observation to figure out where his little sister has been is a nice twist on the character.
Eric Eisenberg, CinemaBlend
Millie Bobby Brown’s spunky, independent and rebellious investigator rightfully has full possession of the spotlight, and the film sets high emotional and life-threatening stakes for the character, but also impressively intertwined in the narrative is the B-plot led by Henry Cavill’s Sherlock. As Enola searches for Sarah Chapman, he is confounded by a complex scheme that is seeing money being moved around a variety of London’s financial institutions. It leans into very familiar aspects of the detective’s mythos, but finds an approach that successfully constructs a smart and unexpected perspective.
While Enola Holmes 2 has the benefit of featuring two of Netflix’s biggest and most bankable stars, the question is whether the second outing will live up to the success of the first movie. During the original’s initial release window, Netflix reported it was well on track to being seen by 76 million households over the first four weeks it was available. It would also go on to receive an impressive 91% critical rating on the review aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes.
While the quality of the first film certainly went some way to explaining its initial success, the original Enola Holmes also benefited from its streaming release at a time when theatrical releases were practically non-existent. With theaters currently returning to business-as-usual in a post-pandemic world, it will be interesting to see whether Brown’s return as Enola will have anywhere near the same impact. With plenty of opportunity to further expand on the franchise in the future, Netflix will most certainly be hoping that Enola Holmes 2 garners the same kind of reception that the first film did, but it also has to contend with far more competition than the original ever did. Hopefully Brown and Cavill’s onscreen chemistry can help it draw in prospective viewers upon release.
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