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Enola Holmes 2 Review: Millie Bobby Brown Cracks the Case of How to Make a Fun Sequel

One of Netflix's coolest teen sleuths is back

Jordan Hoffman
Millie Bobby Brown, Enola Holmes 2

Millie Bobby Brown, Enola Holmes 2

Alex Bailey/Netflix

There's a moment in Netflix's Enola Holmes 2 when the young detective (yes, Sherlock's baby sister), played by Millie Bobby Brown, prepares to attend a ball. A quick montage of images from an etiquette book show her selected gown and mask. Outside a Victorian manor, Enola turns to the camera, removing the velvet mask from her eyes to pronounce, "'Tis I!" as if we, the audience, had even a second's worth of doubt. The point is: Enola is having fun, and Brown, a natural born comic with a hydrogen bomb's worth of screen charisma, turns what could be just another disposable tween-and-teens romp into a genuine delight.

Most of the gang from the first picture is back. Fleabag's Harry Bradbeer is at the helm (I always like when directors stick with franchise movies; it makes it seem less like a paycheck gig), Harry Potter and the Cursed Child playwright Jack Thorne once again wrote the screenplay, and Henry Cavill, simultaneously dashing and beefy, is set up at 221B Baker Street as London's most famous detective, Sherlock, whose current case ends up intersecting with Enola's now that she's hung out her own sleuthing shingle.

Sam Claflin's Mycroft is missing, but Adeel Akhtar as the stone faced Detective Lestrade, Helena Bonham Carter as bomb-hurling feminist Eudoria (aka "Mother") Holmes, Susan Wokoma as jiu-jitsu expert Edith Garrud, and, most importantly, Louis Partridge as the dreamy botanist-social reformer Viscount Tewkesbury are in the mix. There's a scene where Tewkesbury teaches Enola to dance, she teaches him to brawl, and both teach one another to love. If you don't make some variant of the sound "awwww" by the end, immediately call a cardiologist to ensure your heart is functioning properly.


Enola Holmes 2


  • Millie Bobby Brown remains delightful and lands some fun jokes
  • The cast is solid
  • The movie effectively skewers gender inequality


  • It's smarter about gender than race
  • The 130-minute run time drags at points

The story in Enola Holmes 2 is secondary to the jokes — a large percentage of which are Brown adorably mugging to the camera — and general vibe, but it isn't without a message. Our young investigator is approached by a little girl whose sister has gone missing. She, like others in her run-down part of town, works for a local matchstick factory. In time, Enola uncovers a loathsome conspiracy of corruption in which the match manufacturers intentionally use cheaper materials despite knowing its harmful effects on their workers. This dovetails with the true story of a strike in 1888, the first labor action led by women for women workers. At the front was Sarah Chapman, a fictionalized version of whom shows up in this film. (How she does is a bit of a surprise.)

More so even than the first film, Enola Holmes 2 leans into exposing gender inequality. It's a particular line the filmmakers need to walk. They have deliberately cast the film with a blind attitude toward race, in the mode of Bridgerton and many movies aimed at kids, in the admirable pursuit of ensuring all who are watching can see themselves represented. This can become tricky, because moments in the film show Victorian society with its historically accurate sexism, but not any of the racism. Here is where that phrase "parental guidance" comes in. It may not be a bad idea for authority figures to hit pause now and again to say, "OK, this part is real, but this part is actually, unfortunately, not how it was."

Older kids (and adults) will more easily recognize that while there are no wizards or dragons, Netflix's Holmes-verse movies are essentially fantasy films. That also means exaggerated villains (David Thewlis skillfully chomps the scenery) and some far-fetched action sequences. The true magic, however, is with our lead character and her arsenal of reaction shots. Should Millie Bobby Brown keep this up, she will eventually rank alongside the great Jack Benny as master of the "take." (No, no need for eyedrops — you did, in fact, read the first comparison between a Stranger Things star and Mr. Sunday Night on the internet.)

Will there be a third? Well, the book series this is all based on has plenty of entries, and the conclusion of this movie introduces some heretofore missing characters from Holmes lore. All I can say is that these movies, while certainly not perfect — the 130-minute run time does drag here and there — are abundantly pleasant. I'm no master sleuth, but my hunch is we'll see more.

Premieres: Friday, Nov. 4 on Netflix
Who's in it: Millie Bobby Brown, Henry Cavill, Louis Partridge, Helena Bonham Carter, David Thewlis, Adeel Akhtar, Susan Wokoma
Who's behind it: Harry Bradbeer (director), Jack Thorne (screenwriter)
For fans of: Meddlesome teen detectives