Rian Johnson‘s 2019 film, Knives Out, was a surprise hit that led to a two-picture deal with Netflix to continue to series. Which leads us to Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery. It stars Daniel Craig as Benoit Blanc – complete with his character’s signature “Kentucky-fried, Foghorn Leghorn” drawl. The rest of the cast is new – and star-studded – including Edward Norton, Kate Hudson, Dave Bautista, Janelle Monáe, Kathryn Hahn, and Leslie Odom Jr.. There’s also an impressive series of celebrity cameos, including Yo-Yo Ma and the late Angela Lansbury and Stephen Sondheim.
The cast comes together to pull off what seems to be shaping up the signature “tone” for the series: an offbeat murder, with a list of suspects comprised of almost uniformly deplorable people. In this case, five long-time friends are invited to the Greek island home of billionaire Miles Bron (Norton) to solve a murder. His murder, in fact. On the guest list? Benoit Blanc, the world’s greatest private investigator, who soon learns all the guests have reasons to kill their host.
The film feels very reminiscent of Agatha Christie mysteries, with Blanc himself giving off strong Hercule Poirot vibes. (I don’t think any Poirot was ever drawn into a mystery from his bathtub, but I’m certainly not ruling it out.) Who’s the murderer? Honestly, the audience could root for almost any of them to have done it and be satisfied at the end of the film.
It’s hard not to watch Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery and not compare it to its predecessor. In that respect, the sequel doesn’t feel quite as whimsical as the first movie in the series. Though describing a murder mystery as “whimsical” is an unusual thing to do. It isn’t quite as fun. And it isn’t quite as quotable – though it would be hard to top the number of quotable moments from Knives Out. (Who could forget Chris Evans‘s “Up your ass” speech?)
But the fact it doesn’t quite live up to its predecessor doesn’t detract from the fact that Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery is still a damn good movie. It takes a little bit longer to get going than the first. However, once it gets going, it races towards its satisfyingly epic climax. I personally preferred Blanc a little less “in the know” than he was in this film. However, I concede that it’s important for Johnson to mix things up every film to keep things fresh and interesting. And Craig plays Blanc with every bit as much subtle cunning and lighthearted humor as he did previously.
But as good as Craig is – and please believe me that he is so, so good – it’s Monáe who makes Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery into a masterpiece. At times compelling and humorous, she commands attention every time she’s on screen. It’s hard to speak of her performance without going into spoilers, but she plays all aspects of her character to perfection. Like Ana de Armas before her, she is the sole exception to the “every character is a deplorable asshole” rule. And her role in the climax? Epic. She deserves all the awards for her portrayal. All of them.
There’s so much to enjoy about Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery. True, it has a different focus than its predecessor – from “will she get caught” to a more traditional Whodunnit. The parallels to a certain Twitter owner might be a little on-the-nose. And the quotes aren’t quite as quotable. But there’s still whimsy to this mystery. All of the actors are fantastic, though Craig and Monáe are stand-outs. And it’s honestly still a fun way to spend a few snowy hours at home, leaving us looking forward to the next movie in the franchise. And what could be better than that?
Liked it? Hated it? What did you think about Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery? Let us know in the comments below!