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'Enola Holmes 2' shows, again, that Millie Bobby Brown can do big things

Henry Cavill, Millie Bobby Brown, and Louis Partridge in Enola Holmes 2 (2022)
Alex Bailey/Netflix © 2022
© 2022 Netflix, Inc.
Henry Cavill, Millie Bobby Brown, and Louis Partridge in Enola Holmes 2 (2022)

When I reviewed Enola Holmes in 2020, I said the movie showed us that the actor Millie Bobby Brown has a chance to be a real star. Since then, she’s done another turn as the character Eleven on Netflix’s Stranger Things… and that’s pretty much it. So, we’re kind of in the same place we were a couple years ago. But at least now I get a chance to repeat myself in saying Brown is still showing us she has the ability to do big things, because she’s returned in Enola Holmes 2.

Since we last saw her, Enola has tried to start her own detective business, though she hasn’t succeeded, mostly because people don’t really want to employ a teenage girl to do their detecting, but also because many of them would understandably prefer to hire her older brother Sherlock. But Enola does get a case, from a young girl whose sister is missing, and this plunges our hero into a whole lot of intrigue, most of which is played lightly, but that has serious consequences—quite a few young women are dying, and it seems pretty clear some extreme corporate malfeasance may be involved.

The movie’s filmmaking is plenty hyperactive, with zippy camera movements and quick cuts and unnecessary references to scenes we saw just a few minutes before. It’s far too long and overstuffed, both in plot and character, including introducing one famous villain who deserved more focused attention, and this also hurts the social message the film ultimately has.

And still, it’s airy enough to be fun, and the acting is a delight, particularly David Thewlis as a slimy policeman, and, definitely, Millie Bobby Brown. She has a charisma she doesn’t get to show off on Stranger Things, and this often comes through in small, blink-and-you’ll-miss-them throwaway gestures, even more than in the obvious jokes and bon mots. And so, we’re here again, and it’s not a terrible place to be—Millie Bobby Brown still has a chance to be a real star.

Enola Holmes 2 is on Netflix.

Fletcher Powell has worked at KMUW since 2009 as a producer, reporter, and host. He's been the host of All Things Considered since 2012 and KMUW's movie critic since 2016. Fletcher is a member of the Critics Choice Association.