There are two main types of mysteries, those that the audience can solve and those that the audience can’t. Holmes, Poirot, Castle, etc they all did both. In the second it’s usually a small detail that the detective sees but the writer omits.
This is more of a coming of age adventure with a bunch of mysteries mixed in, most of which are of the second category. It’s easy enough to guess but not all the pieces are there for us to be sure.
A lot of complaints about this movie are around the fact that it’s not a Holmesian-style mystery and that it includes too many feminist and egalitarian themes. It’s not supposed to be a Holmesian, it’s supposed to be inspired by not copying, as for the other complaints… it seems there’s a lot of sensitive people.
The major flaw in this movie is the amount of time it takes to set up places and events, some of which won’t be explored until the next movie. So much of it feels like a forced prologue instead of an origin story.
Enola Holmes is wonderful character that has a lot of Sherlock’s flaws, like over confidence, and a few extras like being a fish out of water. Sherlock would argue that her empathy and emotions are another flaw. She’s also competent, clever, and funny.
Mycroft and Sherlock are both a little different than in other interpretations. The first being more of a dick and the second being more caring. Both can easily be explained by family dynamics and the fact that the story is told from Enola’s point of view.
She doesn’t see the brilliant politician and spy that is Mycroft because he acts like a petulant child who’s always been compared to his siblings and been found wanting.
She might not see the cold, calculating, and sometimes cruel Sherlock because with her he remembers caring and he feels guilty that she’s a lot like him. I have to say it was refreshing not to see another interpretation of Sherlock as a frantic, addled, mess.
The rest of the cast is interesting, but it’s the siblings that make the movie special.
There are times that I feel the dialogue slipped out of its period authenticity but I really don’t care. Again this isn’t a historical drama, it’s an adventure story.
Enola narrates in an almost jarring 4th wall breaking style throughout the movie and at first I wasn’t a fan. As it went on, I realized this was like her diary, her narration would have had much less impact and humour had it been done traditionally. This added a little humour and made the audience feel like it was being included.
The word play and puns were delightful.
Visuals and Music
The setting is mostly historical London but there’s almost a Romantic era love for nature that’s included. The nature scenes are lovely and the overall filming was very well done. The fight scenes were nicely shot.
The music was cleverly Holmesian with a modern twist. Adventurous, mysterious, with a little cheekiness added in.
Ten minutes in as they were still world building and telling us what Enola was like, my daughter proclaimed that she didn’t like the movie. She sat through it anyway and by the end said it was her favourite movie ever. (Like Holmes, her favourite is the last one she experienced.)
I enjoyed the beginning although I feel it was a little long and could have been trimmed and enjoyed the rest. It was a fun adventure with lots of great nods to Holmes.
Suffering a little from over explaining and too much set up, the movie is still delightful all the way through. If you’re a fan of Sherlock Holmes and not precious on all the details you’ll enjoy this. If you’re not a fan of Holmes but love a good adventure and strong character this is also a good choice.