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(2022) (Millie Bobby Brown, Henry Cavill) (PG-13)

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Action/Adventure: A young detective finds her missing person's case intertwined with her more famous brother's investigation and they join forces to solve both.

Following the events of the first film where she solved her very first detective case in finding her missing mother, Eudoria (HELENA BONHAM CARTER), Enola Holmes (MILLIE BOBBY BROWN) has decided to open a detective agency. But being a young woman in a time when women couldn't vote, no one takes her seriously, especially with her being the young sister of legendary detective Sherlock Holmes (HENRY CAVILL).

She's about to close her shop when young Bessie Chapman (SERRANA SU-LING BLISS) shows up and wants to hire Enola to find her sister, Sarah (HANNAH DODD), who's gone missing. Both sisters work alongside many other girls and young women, including Mae (ABBIE HERN), in the local match factory owned by Henry Lyon (DAVID WESTHEAD). He's a business magnate who's grooming his young adult son, William (GABRIEL TIERNEY), to run the business, all while associating with government figures such as Charles McIntyre (TIM McMULLAN).

His assistant, Mira Troy (SHARON DUNCAN-BREWSTER), takes a liking to Enola, especially as related to her obviously being smitten with Lord Tewkesbury (LOUIS PATRIDGE) who previously met Enola and is working to bring about change through politics. As Enola tries to solve her case as Sherlock tries to solve his own, she ends up coming across a murder, with police Superintendent Grail (DAVID THEWLISS), suspecting her of the crime. She flees and unites with her brother as they attempt to solve the mystery of their intertwined cases.

OUR TAKE: 6.5 out of 10

Without the use of a way-back time machine, it's always difficult to know with one-hundred percent accuracy who first coined certain common phrases. That's especially true if they gained popularity before the advent of any sort of recording medium as it's always possible the person they're attributed to heard and borrowed it from someone else. Regardless, history is usually the final arbitrator of such who said it first debates.

As such, P.T. Barnum is commonly believed to have come up with the phrase "Always leave them wanting more." And it makes sense, what with him being an over-the-top showman and all. But it can and should apply to other forms of entertainment as well, as "just enough" means audiences will come back and spend their money on more of whatever it was that entertained them.

That's certainly how I felt upon the conclusion of Netflix's 2020 offering, "Enola Holmes," a highly enjoyable, imaginative, and fun spin on the old Sherlock Holmes detective tales. By the time the end credits started to roll, I indeed wanted more and didn't have to wait long for the follow-up that now arrives in the form of the predictably titled "Enola Holmes 2."

With most of the same folks returning from both sides of the camera -- including director Bradbeer and screenwriter Jack Thorne -- the film pretty much picks up where the first offering left off, with something of a quick recap to get newbies up to speed enough that they won't feel lost.

Having solved the mystery of her missing mother (Helena Bonham Carter) last time around, our title character (Millie Bobby Brown) has decided to open her own sleuthing company. But the times being what they are, no one takes her seriously -- especially in the shadow of her legendary detective brother Sherlock (Henry Cavill) -- and she's about to throw in the towel when a young girl (Serranna Su-Ling Bliss) walks into her storefront.

She informs our heroine that her sister (Hannah Dodd) has gone missing, and thus Enola springs into action, immediately ciphering through meager clues, all while occasionally breaking the fourth wall to talk directly to the viewer. It turns out both girls worked in the local sweatshop match factory where alleged typhus is the stated reason for various girls and young women dropping dead.

Enola smells something fishy, but her investigation leads her to a flat where she comes across a murder victim breathing her last breaths, followed by the fuzz showing up. All of which results in Superintendent Grail (David Thewlis) naming her as the chief suspect. Using skills taught to her by her mother, Enola escapes, partially seeks out her big brother's help, and still has time for googly eyes for Lord Tewkesbury (Louis Partridge), although she won't admit to that. Sherlock's on his own case, and the siblings soon realize his is connected to hers and they set out to solve the combo mystery.

It's always fun watching such sleuths do their things in these sorts of films, and Brown and Cavill don't disappoint in portraying that, although the mysteries themselves aren't designed as much to ask viewers to participate in figuring it out on their own. That makes this more of a passive experience, but an entertaining one nonetheless as the story zips along and the action is lively, as is the direction and editing.

Naturally, the novelty found in the first film -- where it introduced us to the scenario and characters -- is absent here, so it's just a notch less engagingly fun this time around, but not enough to dock more than a half-point of the final score. In the end, my appetite for wanting more last time around was sated, all while leaving me in a similar state for round three whenever that arrives. "Enola Holmes 2" rates as a 6.5 out of 10.

Posted November 4, 2022

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