Craig Acton’s review published on Letterboxd:
I will not tell a lie, I could not have given less of a shit about this one. Just everything about it really just made me want to roll my eyes and cross my arms in apprehension. And the trailer didn't do much else to disuade my feelings of caution. But, I must say, sometimes all it takes is going into something with an open mind, coupled with a really sparkling lead performance and a well polished script to really wear down your defenses until you're smiling from ear to ear.
Millie Bobby Brown. An actress who up till now I haven't quite understood all the hype about. Sure she's good in 'Stranger Things', but I never saw her acting in that as all that and a bag of chips. And her work in 'Godzilla: King of the Monsters' only seemed to further that mindset. But here, in this little gem on Netflix, she shines as bright as the sun. Showcasing a wide range, being able to sell comedy, drama, action, the whole nine yard. Brown has such an expressive face, reminding me of Daisy Ridley at points in just her mannerisms and how she can sell so much from just a glance or gesture. And I really enjoyed Jack Thorne's script, moreso its subtexts. Without giving away any spoilers, I'll say that this is a rare movie to have a political agenda behind it, that doesn't feel like it's clubbing you over the head with it, but rather feels organically interwoven in the narrative and themes. I was quite impressed. And I really enjoyed Sam Claflin as Mycroft, some could argue that he's just an asshole for the sake of being one, but anyone familiar with previous interpretations of the character will know that he is doing textbook Mycroft. And lastly, I really enjoyed some of the films editing by Adam Bosman, with one fight scene in the second act that cuts back and forth to the present and Enola's past being done really well, and not having everyone get lost in the cuts.
My biggest gripe with the movie is Henry Cavill. Now, to be clear, his acting isn't bad. But rather, he isn't Sherlock Holmes. Whereas Claflin captures the prickly nature of Mycroft, Cavill instead portrays Sherlock as a kind hearted quiet man, who loves his family more then anything else....which, while Sherlock isn't heartless, he is NOT a cuddly teddy bear. Just so many of his scenes needed someone from the Doyle estate to brush them over with a coat of organic vinear to his character. The moments of Sherlock's humanity are supposed to come few and far between, not seeping through in every fucking scene. Also, while the movie is quite enjoyable, visually and from a directorial standpoint there's nothing special here. Even I, a sucker for cinematography of London wasn't feeling any sense of beauty with the sweeping shots of the English countryside. And the boy who plays Enola's love interest, Louis Partridge. Well I found him to be very boring and dull. Their chemistry is alright, but his acting alone is bland.
Overall, this is a simple crowpleaser that aims to make people smile and give them an important taste of the fight that women have had to endure to be treated like the boys. Brown and a mostly solid script from Thorne do a lot of the heavy lifting here. But I wish this film has someone with more of a vision, either directing or behind the camera to give it some visual flair. All in all, this is a decent little flick, that while nowhere near the best of the year, actually manages to land itself firmly in the 'good' category. Something I was not expecting in the least bit.