Henry Cavill's Sherlock's Biggest Change To The Character Is His Best

3 weeks ago

Henry Cavill plays an unusually emotional and caring Sherlock Holmes in Netflix's Enola Holmes movie - and these subtle changes made to the character are actually the best thing about his performance. When Sir Arthur Conan Doyle first created Sherlock Holmes, he had no idea the Great Detective would prove so popular, and frankly came to resent Sherlock's fame. Doyle killed Sherlock Holmes off in 1893's "The Adventure of the Final Problem," and watched the resulting public outcry with amazement. He had completely underestimated the cultural phenomenon he had created, and within a decade he was forced to bring Holmes back from the dead in response to public pressure.

Sherlock Holmes has been a mainstay of popular culture ever since, adapted countless times for big and small screen alike. The best portrayals of Sherlock are typically aloof and distant, cold and unemotional. "Whatever is emotional is opposed to that true cold reason which I place above all things," Holmes insisted in "The Sign of Four," and most Sherlock Holmes adaptations have taken their cue from that line of dialogue. Holmes is usually seen as a man ill at ease with his own humanity, who would prefer emotions to be windows into the souls of others, not something he feels himself. This has often been accompanied by a certain degree of social awkwardness, with the Great Detective unable to express how much things like friendship really mean to him, and often taking advantage of those who love him and are willing to excuse his behaviors. This can be seen in almost all the modern versions of Sherlock Holmes, including Benedict Cumberbatch, Robert Downey Jr., and Jonny Lee Miller.

But Henry Cavill's version is different to Downey, Cumberbatch, or Miller. This is a Sherlock Holmes who is a little more at ease with his own humanity, and who is willing to display his love towards his sister. What's more, this Holmes is able to understand the emotions of others rather better than previous iterations, and he keeps his own counsel on occasion. He is reluctant to cause more family problems by telling Mycroft what he really thinks about the way he's treating Enola, cognizant of the fact he would lose that battle but cause irreparable damage to their relationship. This emotional intelligence actually led Netflix to go through a strange lawsuit from the Conan Doyle estate, who argue Holmes didn't display emotion until later Doyle works that are still under copyright.https://i0.wp.com/storage.waploaded.com/images/5d806e6b759f095a650dc2020e51ba12.jpg

Leaving aside the legal debate, the fact remains this emotional edge makes Henry Cavill's Sherlock Holmes stand out from the crowd (and with so many adaptations of Sherlock Holmes over the years, it's a pretty big crowd). He is no cold and unfeeling deductive machine, although a throwaway criticism of emotions suggests a part of him wishes he could be. No, he is a fully-fleshed, three-dimensional person in his own right, dealing with the emotions that naturally arise when your family is in turmoil and you are dealing with your siblings. The family dynamic in Enola Holmes is absolutely fascinating, because it adds a wonderful strain of sibling rivalry into the mix. In Enola Holmes, it is clear Sherlock and Enola both inherited their mother's intelligence, and bonded with Eudoria Holmes more than her other son Mycroft; he deeply resents that fact, and this is at the root of his distaste for Sherlock.

Director Harry Bradbeer is hopeful about getting to make an Enola Holmes sequel, and Millie Bobby Brown is enthusiastic about the idea. Hopefully it won't be long before Netflix give Enola Holmes 2 a green light, and viewers get to see more of Henry Cavill's Sherlock Holmes. And, who knows, perhaps there could even be a spinoff starring him; it's not as though Netflix is short of source material.

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