Sherlock Holmes’ younger sister is back to build her legacy as a great detective in Enola Holmes 2, the new Netflix movie. Inspired by Nancy Springer’s books, the feature creates an even more intriguing plot than the first by presenting a mature version of the protagonist, involved in a mystery that brings up important social issues.
After solving the Lord Tewksbury case, Enola (Millie Bobby Brown) opens her own office to investigate missing persons. Without many clients, she is hired by a young girl to investigate the disappearance of Sarah Chapman, a poor woman who works in a match factory.
What appears to be a simple investigation turns out to be a big case and puts at risk not only people close to Sarah, but Enola herself, who needs to enlist the help of her brother (Henry Cavill) and mother (Helena Bonham Carter) to solve the mystery.
Like Sherlock, Enola usually always works alone. However, the detective is also going through difficulties and the union between siblings proves to be the solution to the case. A surefire strategy in the script by Harry Bradbeer and Jack Thorne, since the interaction between Bobby Brown and Cavill on screen is impressive.
This time, Sherlock also contributes to his sister’s evolution, both personally and professionally, by serving as a mentor and being really close to her. Unlike the first film, Cavill delivers a more sensitive and vulnerable performance, making the moments between them even more natural and touching.
But Cavill is far from the only one who pairs well with the actress. Louis Partridge also returns for the sequel in a passionate version of Tewksbury, who finally begins to realize his feelings for Enola. However, even though the scenes between the two are charming, romance is far from being the focus of the plot.
Although not an invention of Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes tales, Enola Holmes borrows several elements from these stories, such as settings and iconic characters, to create a modern version capable of connecting with a younger audience and working with themes often ignored by period dramas.
From the very first film, it is possible to see the social nature of the plot, when Tewksbury’s relationship with the Reform Act of 1832 is revealed. Also based on historical facts, the sequence is set against the backdrop of the Matchgirls’ Strike, in which a group of girls fought for better working conditions in the phosphorus factories after being exposed to exhausting working hours and unhealthy chemicals.
An advocate of feminism, Enola always puts machismo and the fight for women’s rights on the agenda, something that becomes even stronger when she meets the Matchgirls and encounters social conditions completely different from those she is used to. This time, the young woman goes beyond just solving the mystery and becomes emotionally involved in the case. The result is a maturing and understanding that she can do very well on her own, but is even more powerful when she teams up with others.
Bobby Brown is known for excellent dramatic performances, but she also oozes talent when playing a playful, laid-back character who breaks the fourth wall, something quite different from Eleven from Stranger Things, for example. The actress shows versatility and more confidence in Enola Holmes 2, proving how comfortable and immersed she is in the role.
Bonham Carter also gained more prominence in the sequel. Eudora, mother of the Holmes family, appears beyond flashbacks to star in an incredible fight sequence and a touching moment between mother and daughter, essential to Enola’s growth.
All these themes are intelligently inserted into the script, interwoven into the story in a natural and captivating way, without seeming forced. In addition, the fast pace, the fight scenes and moments of drama help build the character’s journey and show her evolution from the first to the second feature film.
The Sherlock Holmes universe is extremely vast and full of possibilities to be explored, and Enola Holmes 2 leaves the door open for new stories to come. It is not yet certain whether there will be another sequel, but it is a fact that the franchise has the potential to reach an increasingly diverse audience. After all, when it comes to gripping the viewer from beginning to end, and being able to create laughs and tense moments at the same time, Enola Holmes 2 is an excellent example.
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