‘Tis her, again

Mick Ferris

Enola Holmes 2 (12, 129 minutes)

Stranger Things star Millie Bobby Brown is very much seen as the jewel in Netflix’s crown with a deal to make movies for the streaming service which, while being very lucrative for both parties, is so far designed purely to exploit her popularity amongst young girls aged from around 11-16 years-old.

With season five of the supernatural series set to be the last and Millie now a young adult, while her financial stability is certainly assured, as an actress she is fast heading for a fork in the road where one way leads to dwindling returns and eventual, albeit wealthy, obscurity (a fate which, no doubt, awaits a couple of her demon fighting cast mates) and the other to roles that see her obvious talent develop in the way that slightly senior peers such as Elle Fanning and Chloe Grace Moretz are.

This film, however, is not a step on that road.

While certainly not lacking in charm, there are some details here that are just plain annoying, beginning with the constant breaking of the fourth wall with Enola’s knowing looks and dialogue directly to camera.

Then there’s the set, so obviously a studio backlot with a little cgi enhancement. But considering the number of horse and carriages, these Victorian streets are suspiciously clean – not a pile of manure in sight on these cobbles.

It’s all very sterile and the same can be said for the screenplay.

Sherlock Holmes’ little sister’s attempt at launching her own career as a private investigator is met with the prejudice of the times along with the baggage that comes with having a famous sibling.

A search for a missing girl reveals dodgy goings on at a match factory as Enola’s first case leads her along a trail of high level corruption that connects with an investigation brother Sherlock (Henry Cavill) is working on.

Whereas in the previous film, the world’s greatest detective was just a fleeting presence, this time Cavill definitely has more to do, although not enough for him to turn off his autopilot. In fact, the role works better when looked upon as the big brother rather than legendary sleuth.

The story is loosely based on real life industrial action taken by London matchgirls in 1888.

Helena Bonham Carter is wheeled out again as the eccentric suffragette Holmes matriach (presumably Sherlock and the absent Mycroft take after their father) to provide a welcome, much needed spark and David Thewlis is a suitably creepy police inspector, although the main villain of the piece is kept under wraps until a final, predictable reveal.

There’s also a return for a now grown up Lord Tewkesbury (Louis Partridge), who has taken up his seat in the House and is immersed in the world of politics. The relationship between his lordship and Enola is allowed to move forward in a way that highlights how solitude and isolation may not after all be the best way forward for the Holmes siblings.

I’ve seen much worse this year and there’s no escaping Millie Bobby Brown’s obvious charm, even if Enola is a little too plucky for comfort. but overall, compared to the 2020 original, it’s a case of sequel disease – let’s just do the same routine again (and probably again at least one more time).

Then it’s back to the drawing board.

RATING: 5/10

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Mick Ferris

Editor Email: mickferris@yellowad.co.uk