Rafael Jovine’s review published on Letterboxd:
If I had to describe this movie somehow I would say this flick encapsulates the reception of films in our current times. It is and will be polarizing. And like me, you can figure out what would be people's complains and even come to a conclusion of what the rating of many people here would be probably even finishing the film (I know I've nailed it with at least three folks in here).
To explain the reasoning behind this, I'll have to go for a much lengthy and detailed review than usual. I'll try as less spoilery as possible, with the only exception being perhaps the final section....
FOUR WALL BREAKING
As I read everyone's review on The Devil All The Time I knew this would be a big problem for a lot of people. I personally, its not that I liked the narration by the author on this movie, but I genuinely didn't bother me at all. I barely actually paid attention... that is, until the very last scene on the car with Tom and Riley, where I genuinely felt it became unecessary.
Now imagine that whole sequence I just mentioned but for almost 2hrs. At times what Millie as Elona had to say was interesting, but at times she said stuff anyone with a single brain cell could figure out. One that comes to mind is when she dress as a widow to infiltrate to a place and gives her fake name, and then she looks at us and said "That's me!" and I am telling you, in that moment I became the Nic Cage meme from Kiss of the Vampire and in my mind I was "No shit, Sherlock!"
Again, there are nice moments like at the beginning as she walks us through her life and there are some nice thoughts that let us get into her quirky nature. But by God Almighty! That widow scene... man...
REFERENCES TO OTHER MOVIES
From having Cavill dressing with a suit and like any other people took me into Mr. Holmes, which was nice.
As our dear Harle pointed out, there are some strong references and winks to other films like the ones by Ritchie. I knew (and still know) some would hate this, but I personally liked it. I love how in an odd way its like Holmes is very attached to the gipsy culture. At least many of teh rhythms can be well appreciated to the score. Not sure if that was intentional, but it was a nice callback to the other movies and shows. Yet, the playful and joyful melodies sets very well the tone of the picture, serving as a score that very well goes in with the theme of the character, but also setting the climate.
Again, the four wall breaking and Millie Brown almost manic pixie dream persona was genuinely a delight and got enhanced by the music.
BROTHERS EXCHANGE(?), QUESTIONABLE PERSONA
Now, apparently this will change depending on the camp you are, but from what I heard Cavill its not like the best actor to work with on set. So for me has always come through as the douchy because of that reason. Funnily enough, Millie has had some of the same trouble according to rumors, so how ironic they were playing siblings?
But yeah, for some reason I couldn't help but to think maybe they should have changed the roles for Sam and Henry for one to play the other brother.
Speaking of Sam though, man, was his character very a piece of s**t. Not gonna go into details, but I think his character was a bit over the top. Kid you not, at times I was wondering if I got into that Black Christmas (2019) again. I am that familiar with Mycroft in the books, but is he a scumbag as in this movie?
MARY SUE, IS THAT YOU?
One thing I knew many might have trouble with is Enola's own brilliance and fighting skills. And what would you know? Mulan (2020) references started popping up in reviews right away. And I get it, while the film puts certain challenges to her and doesn't turn her into a full mary sue, I can see people having that impression.
For me personally, I think the fact we see mamma Holmes literally teaching her everything since she was literally using diapers sort of justify her brilliance. I believe Sherlock even implies he and her were pretty familiar and got many of the education, so starting with that, the film lets you know its not that far-fetched of an idea.
I do, again, have to kind of complain about the whole feminist themes. I have zero problem with female power, don't get me wrong, but I believe this movie was really fighting with what side of the feminist movement it wanted to lean to. At times it goes a bit too radical, at times it touches maybe in the equality of men and women. It keeps swinging back and forth.
THE MYSTERY (Kind of spoilery)
So in many ways I have to agree with everyone, that long forgotten band member of One Direction in the movie was a bit too much. You know how in most movies they try to force a female character. Well I guess they tried to do the same into this movie, but with a boy instead.
His importance to the story was pretty vital, granted, and the actor was pretty good at times. But he simply felt almost like a plot device. Sherlock had better development as a character, and dude is barely in the movie.
Also while the mystery is ultimately interesting, the film is just too long. Like 20 mins too long at least. And the worst is, that the reason why it does its because the film keeps circling back into themes that have already been established, making this film very redundant at times.
Not gonna lie, that whole twist with granny was sorta unexpected and kind of shock me. So I'll give it that.
All in all, while it suffers a lot from pacing issues as well as some of its ideas simply overstay its welcome, I can't deny I had fun for most of the time. This is perhaps my fave work of Millie, even more than 11. There are some nice action and good edits here and there. I hope if they come with a sequel, they can learn from their past mistake.
Also Henry Cavill Sherlock Holmes spinoff please.