As a compulsive reader of mystery novels, 2019's Knives Out was right up my alley. It was my second favorite film of 2019. So, I eagerly anticipated Glass Onion, the next chapter in the adventures of sleuth Benoit Blanc. While writer/director Rian Johnson's sequel does not reach the heights of the original, it's still likely to please fans of the original film.
The film is set in mid-May 2020, at the height of COVID-19 lockdowns. Billionaire Miles Bron (Edward Norton) invites a few of his friends (and Blanc) to his Greek island retreat for a weekend of partying, including a parlor game where guests will have to solve his murder. The guests include a shallow has-been model (Kate Hudson), a men's rights activist (Dave Bautista), a scientist (Leslie Odom, Jr.), a governor (Kathryn Hahn), and a former business partner of Bron's (Janelle Monae). Of course, things do not go as planned and someone ends up dead.
I will avoid going into further details about the plot, as it's more fun to see it without spoilers. To get the quibbles out of the way early, the script isn't quite as tight as the original film's script. At 140 minutes, the running time is flabbier. Knives Out featured a star-making performance from Ana de Armas (whose character does not appear in the sequel), but Monae plays the replacement version of the de Armas character and isn't bad by any stretch, but lacks de Armas' charisma and presence. There's also a plot device in this film that mirrors one in the original a little too closely.
That said, the film still consistently entertains. Craig remains a charming hero, there's plenty of funny moments and the new film also features some funny cameos as well (again, no spoilers here). And it's still fun to watch a filmmaker as clearly passionate about murder mysteries as Johnson is to continue to breathe life into the genre.
Glass Onion is now in theaters for a very limited run, and will then
premiere on Netflix on December 23. Viewers who enjoy Glass Onion should
also check out 1973's murder mystery The Last of Sheila, which is a clear
influence on Johnson's work here.