Two years ago, we discovered the little sister of the most famous detective in the world in the guise of Millie Bobby Brown. After a clumsy but endearing first opus, what does Enola Holmes 2 have in store for us?
Loosely inspired by the writings of Nancy Springer, Netflix seemed to have the winning recipe by bringing Enola Holmes on the screen. An extremely popular surname, a ready-made teenage target and an identified cast headed by Millie Bobby Brown (Eleven in Stranger Things) and Henry Cavill (the DCU’s Superman, The Witcher). The result was a pleasant adventure, although too inconsistent to make a lasting impression. To Enola Holmes 2 to remedy this problem.
This second opus, still directed by Harry Bradbeer (flea bag) from a screenplay by Jack Thorne (His Dark Materials), continues directly with the previous events. Enola has taken her independence and decides to compete with her illustrious brother by opening her own detective firm. But it’s not easy to be taken seriously when you’re a woman at the end of the 19th century. On the verge of giving up, she is finally given a case: find a missing girl.
A second episode which is not intended to change its formula and for lovers of Millie Bobby Brown’s facial expressions, Enola Holmes 2 pushes the sliders to the maximum. The young woman is in complete overdrive just like the overflowing enthusiasm of her character. Frowning, wide-eyed or pouting, the actress has a field day.
And if this abundance of grimaces offers him, surprisingly, this endearing little side, it is nothing for his proportion to break the fourth wall. Here too, this new part has decided not to do things in half measures and we almost have the right to a camera look every two sentences. A way of over-explaining the emotions of the character or the intrigue which annoys to the highest point since it only highlights the obvious while slowing down the pace. Bradbeer no doubt wanted to use his experience on flea bag forgetting that there was Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s writing talent behind it.
Regarding the rest of the cast, if Sam Claflin is the great absentee from this opus, all the others are present. Netflix has also understood the interest of having Henry Cavill in its distribution. If Eudoria Holmes (Helena Bonham Carter) continues her small appearances, Sherlock Holmes gains strongly in time of presence, to the point of having almost her film in the film. The lore of the occupier of 221B Baker Street is heavily exploited, as if the streaming platform is looking to curry favor with fans beyond its main heroine. A paying strategy as it allows Cavill to convince more, but which nevertheless risks making the most resistant to change cringe.
Enola Holmes, new reference of Young Adult?
The other major change touches the very heart of the story. Whether Enola Holmes first of the name remained, despite its feminist momentum, ultimately anecdotal, it is clear that this second opus stands out at all levels. Not that we are in the top of the basket of films on the SVOD service, nor in that of Young Adult, a genre that has lost its acclaim in recent years, but because it finally embraces its full potential.
From the previous white-stitched survey, Enola Holmes inflates its intrigue and offers us a narration reserving many twists behind some evidences. The latter being necessary for the young audience for which the film is intended. Still just as energetic, but more mature, the film has a much better dose of investigation and action while playing with the codes, mischievously diverting several clichés.
Obviously, feminist discourse is also revised upwards, quantitatively and qualitatively, using its time to echo struggles that are unfortunately still current. Certainly, the subject has no subtlety, but when it slips naturally at the turn of a ball or in the middle of a chase, it manages to have an effect. A speech that may perhaps provoke accusations of cynical marketing, but which, heard by the right ears, could awaken some young consciences.
Enola Holmes 2 turns out to be a much less moronic teenage entertainment than many of its congeners. Annoying at times and long (more than two hours!), it is also an attractive feature film in its way of approaching certain subjects and which, whether we like it or not, it can be useful to show the most youth. Far ahead of Katniss Everdeen and her ersatz, we may finally be holding a benchmark youth heroine.