Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery is a shining example of what every anthology series should do, expand upon the tactics from the original, set an even more intricate stage, and keep the audience guessing at all times. While Rian Johnson’s Knives Out was a hit, this writer figured out the murderer right away, but with Glass Onion, until the credits rolled, I was left waiting for more balls to drop. The film is so meaty that it’s hard to accept it’s over by the time it ends.
Further, the film provides the most suitable kind of social commentary that’s imperative to the time we’re living in, especially for those of us scrummaging through what we’re hoping won’t be the last days of Twitter. It’s the downfall of billionaires and social elites in a way that feels refreshing, even while it’s something that’s been done before in film. While the original movie also did this, it’s flashier and more exploitive in Glass Onion, making the character motives both challenging to uncover and crystal clear.
Daniel Craig’s Benoit Blanc has never been more delightful. Whether it’s the outfits in this sequel or the detail that even he’s keeping audiences guessing about what’s happening until halfway through the film, every bit of his on-screen presence is a delight. And while this review won’t feature any plot spoilers because everyone deserves to watch it knowing absolutely nothing, Blanc reveals a considerable flaw by insulting the board game Clue to the audience. It took everything in me not to rally the troops or get the torches ready to fight.
Still, everything we get in this sequel allows viewers to get to know the detective more while Craig continues to layer him with more heart and nuances than we generally see in whodunits. Where we’d often be too busy focusing on the culprits, every character is part of the story here. It’s stunning how much empathy resides in the man, and how it comes to light in Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery is a subtly thoughtful form of storytelling that Rian Johnson should pat himself on the black for. (Also confirmed: Benoit Blanc is a Madewell girly. I could mimic every one of his outfits as a former employee, and for that, I’m thoroughly pleased.)
Fans knew this film would be a thrill every time another remarkable star joined the cast during announcements. Glass Onion features Kathryn Hahn as Claire Debella, Madelyn Cline as Whiskey, Jessica Henwick as Peg, Edward Norton as Miles Bron, Dave Bautista as Duke Cody, Leslie Odom Jr. as Lionel Toussaint, Janelle Monáe as Cassandra Brand, and Kate Hudson as Birdie Jay. The actors are each thoroughly embodying their roles with such conviction that you’ll momentarily forget you’ve seen them elsewhere. This statement is especially the case with Bautista and Hahn, who are such prominent faces in the MCU, still very much fresh in our minds, but oh-so different here.
There’s also much to be said about Janelle Monáe, who isn’t in the group photograph above, but Monáe is utterly sensational. From the moment she enters the scene to the second credits role, she continues to prove that she’s one of the most brilliant actresses of our time, full of such effortless range that it’s always wondrous to watch her on screen.
Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery is a perfect sequel—it’s sharp, meticulously striking, and bold, with a mindful excavation of elitism and the lengths people go through to maintain their dominion. Rian Johnson delivers a biting screenplay, and the deliciously raucous setting gives the audience plenty of enticing rationales to peel back on and analyze. While no knives are neatly exhibited as before to provide threats, polished glass spectacularly furnishes the foreboding essence. There’s much more that can be said, but the audience deserves to be entirely in the dark until everyone’s had the chance to see it at least once.
Glass Onion is in theaters for a limited time and will be streaming exclusively on Netflix starting December 23rd.