GLASS ONION: A KNIVES OUT MYSTERY
Starring: Daniel Craig, Edward Norton, Kate Hudson, Janelle Monáe, Kathryn Hahn, Dave Bautista, Leslie Odom Jr., Jessica Henwick, and Madelyn Cline
Director: Rian Johnson
Knives Out is a fantastic film that reignited many people’s faith in Rian Johnson as a director. So, to say its sequel, Glass Onion, had a lot to live up to is an understatement. Luckily, the follow-up delivers by providing a new cast of characters and environment for Daniel Craig’s Benoit Blanc to showcase his world-class sleuthing. Not only is it at least as good as its predecessor, but it’s certainly the funnier of the two entries, thanks in large part to Kate Hudson's standout performance. Glass Onion is another win for Benoit Blanc. Bring on the next one to continue the series.
As one of the few people that didn't fall head over heels for Knives Out, I'm happy to report that Glass Onion is a lively and entertaining sequel that surpasses the original film in almost every way. One of my complaints about Knives Out was that many of the fantastic supporting characters weren't given enough screen time to shine. With Glass Onion, director Rian Johnson puts all his character actors to great comical use. Meanwhile, Daniel Craig is having the time of his life portraying Benoit Blanc, an energy that can be felt throughout the film.
During Glass Onion’s first act, Janelle Monáe’s Andi mentions “rich people shit”: the absurdity that only comes out of the mouths of the ridiculously wealthy. Subsequently, Daniel Craig’s Benoit Blanc warns someone that it’s folly to mistake speaking without thought for speaking truth. Those two nuggets delivered by those two brilliant actors sum up Rian Johnson’s murder mystery sequel. The script initially leans too eye-rollingly heavy on satirizing the “war on wokeness,” but once Monáe and Craig take center stage, unraveling the mystery in front of our eyes, the film finds its stride. I’ll take part three with just the mystery please.
I admit recency bias could be at play, but I think Glass Onion is better than Knives Out. At the very least, it’s just as good. Daniel Craig brings the same goofy southern charm (and accent) to Benoit Blanc as before, but he’s surrounded by a better ensemble and coterie of characters this time around. All involved are doing great work, but Janelle Monáe, Edward Norton, and Kate Hudson (the low-key MVP) almost make you forget that Kathryn Hahn, Dave Bautista, and Leslie Odom Jr. are even in the movie. Plus, the way the mystery subverts expectations while doubling back on itself? Just brilliant.
While enjoyable, Glass Onion doesn’t hold a candle to the first film. Compared to Knives Out, this feels like a pale imitation, a copy of a copy, a product a filmmaker with lesser talent than Rian Johnson traced over like their hand to make a Thanksgiving turkey outline. The charm of Benoit Blanc still exists and Daniel Craig’s performance is as sharp as ever, but the ensemble cast, while talented themselves, lack any sort of depth or possess any characteristics that will make the audience fear for their safety. The technical makeup is superb, yet the story itself lacks the same punch and flare that its predecessor had.
Glass Onion starts off kinda clunky, but it eventually picks up to become a worthy sequel. It’s almost an entirely different film than the original, which I wasn’t expecting. I’m talking about a different tone, different structure, and a different kind of murder mystery altogether. The entire cast is having a blast while crushing it at the same time, especially Kate Hudson and Janelle Monáe. Writer/director Rian Johnson once again crafted a plot full of twists and moments that pull the rug out from under us at every turn. I can’t wait till Benoit Blanc’s (Daniel Craig) next mystery.
Packed with an all-star cast and extravagance from wall to wall, Glass Onion is yet another hit for director Rian Johnson, and a more-than-worthy sequel to Knives Out. While I’m not sure if I personally liked it better than the first, it certainly does everything the best movie sequels and murder mysteries do by playing with its original form by pitting the audience against their own expectations. Some jokes are less effective this time around, and the underlying themes are less interwoven, but the dialogue itself remains stylishly quick-witted, and there’s not a moment Kate Hudson doesn’t steal.
This film was reviewed by Nick, Adriano, and Quentin as part of Bitesize Breakdown's coverage of the 2022 Toronto International Film Festival.