Though this sequel doesn't quite live up to the creativity and excitement of the original, it's still an entertaining, well-acted, and finely-produced adventure.
Sequels generally start from a compromised place of instant comparison, and Enola Holmes 2 doesn't do itself many favors by incorporating so many flashbacks to the original. (Is this even necessary in the age of streaming, since viewers can refer back themselves with a click?)
The references seem intent on focusing on Enola's childhood as an explanation for her character. But Enola is grown now, and her adult adventures are more interesting than her childhood lessons. Having her mother give her life and relationship advice as an adult in one scene is a more subtle touch, for example.
Maybe this is a transition phase and Enola Holmes 3 will let grown-up Enola become more fully her own adult creation. For a franchise with so many feminist undertones, that would make sense.
And here's hoping the series does carry on, as the world and characters they've adapted and created are rife with possibilities. That is a great credit to the storytellers and actors, especially Brown (Cavill feels a little underused, though maybe he's just playing repressed), as well as to the production design.
Enola's Victorian-era London is steely-hued and fog-shrouded, a combination of claustrophobic cobble-stoned neighborhoods and enhanced vistas of monuments and factories across the grey Thames. Wardrobe features equally subdued colors, which admirably serve the characters and story rather than distracting from them.
Playing a baddie (intended to look "insect-like" via his costume design), Thewlis leads a cast of memorable secondary characters. It seems each new entry in the series will involve a historical event or person and bring in new characters for the follow-up.
The mid-credits epilogue of Enola Holmes 2 opens the door, literally, to a potentially exciting addition to the cast.
Read the full review at Common Sense Media.
Images courtesy of Netflix.