What does Sherlock Holmes have in common with Santa Claus, Dracula and God?
They are the four most portrayed characters when it comes to TV shows, movies and books.
That’s rare company for the fictional detective and the Guinness Book of World Records lists him as as the most portrayed literary human character in film and television history (the other three don’t fit that description). There have been more than 25,000 stage adaptations, films, television productions and publications featuring the detective. Movies alone count more than 250.
So to say there’s another movie featuring Sherlock Holmes might give many a groan, even if there’s a new twist.
Netflix’s newest original movie “Enola Holmes” gives Millie Bobby Brown a starring vehicle in which she portrays the titular heroine, who is the younger sister of Sherlock and Mycroft Holmes.
It’s based on a series of young adult novels that debuted in 2006 and while the movie is appropriate for teens and tweens, fans of the Robert Downey Jr. movies and the Benedict Cumberbatch series will still enjoy this two-hour feature. It’s not just for children. In fact, kids younger than middle school might get bored or confused.
Henry Cavill (“Man of Steel,” “The Witcher”) plays the famed detective with obsessive brilliance and arrogance, but lacking the eccentricities of other version. He’s not a misanthrope or a drug addict in this version. It’s a softer Holmes. And yes, he’s far far better than Will Ferrell’s terrible version.
Trusty sidekick Watson isn’t by Sherlock’s side. Maybe they’re saving him for some sequels. Yes, this movie is meant for sequels. The movie itself could have easily been turned into a series, but I’m thankful that Netflix is still providing options that I can watch in two hours rather than eight.
The plot itself is disposable. It’s a generic mystery where you could care less about the clues that are found or who the ultimate villain ends up being. With the exception of the brilliant twist in last year’s “Knives Out,” most detective movies are more about the journey than the answer.
The real reason to watch “Enola Holmes” is to see a star in the making with Millie Bobby Brown. She was introduced to the world in 2016 as Eleven, a bald-headed 12-year-old with telekinetic powers on the hit Netflix show “Stranger Things.” She was shy, scared and unable to speak. It was a powerful role, but one that gave us no hint of how Brown would fare as a confident, verbose, witty young feminist in “Enola Holmes.” With only one other feature film under her belt (a small role in “Godzilla: King of the Monsters”), this is Brown’s film breakthrough. It showcases her leading star ability and it’s not hyperbole to say that I see the same charm and acting ability that we saw in Anne Hathaway, Natalie Portman and Emma Stone before they went on to win Oscars many years later. Brown is only 16 and if she keeps selecting the right roles (which is very important) her future will be bright.
Brown brings a ton of charisma to “Enola Holmes.” When she breaks the fourth wall and looks into the camera, the viewer feels like she’s looking directly at them because of Brown’s personal connection and relaxed performance. It’s a strong enough debut to warrant sequels, even if the mystery itself isn’t incredibly engaging.