Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery was written and directed by Rian Johnson and stars Daniel Craig, Edward Norton, Janelle Monae, Dave Bautista, Kate Hudson, Kathryn Hahn, Leslie Odom Jr., Madelyn Cline and Jessica Henwick. Craig returns to his role as southern detective Benoit Blanc with a new mystery and cast of suspects invited to the private island mansion of billionaire Miles Bron (Norton).

The original Knives Out was a smash hit when it premiered in 2019 and had a hand in bringing ensemble mystery thrillers back in the limelight, which we’re seeing now with other mystery films that premiered this year like Confess, Fletch and See How They Run, as well as the revivals of classic mysteries like Death on the Nile.

Netflix dropped a heavy sum to acquire two sequels to the original, and Johnson and Craig have returned with a fizzy and chaotic follow-up that takes you down a wild and unexpected path with some incredible moments of tension and superb filmmaking. If you weren’t taken away by the original Knives Out, however, there isn’t much here that will sell you on the concept now.

Johnson took aim at affluent, old-money family dynamics in the original film, while Bron in this film instead a clear riff of self-proclaimed “disruptor” tech CEOs who reap a fortune off their friends’ or employees’ ideas, and our supporting ensemble here is a group of friends that are pretty much all using him for their own gain and vice-versa.

The sheer scale and ambition of the production design sell Bron’s character just as much as Norton’s great performance. The mansion is styled like an actual Glass Onion with the main building being a huge bulb-shaped glass dome, and over-extravagant visual touches are peppered throughout the film.

One humorous scene has Craig lighting a cigar outside, only to be startled by alarms declaring the garden smoke-free. The sets and props are even incorporated into the plot in key ways, like an obnoxious rising glass dock that breaches the waves and welcomes the ensemble to the private island becoming the reason they can’t call the police sooner when dangers begin to arise, and hilarious use of an oddly-branded hot sauce bottle in a key scene that elicited cheers in the movie theater.

Craig as Benoit Blanc is a revelation and he continues to delight in the sequel. It takes a specific charm to be able to anchor scenes where the detective is lecturing endlessly about how they reached a conclusion, but the writing and Craig’s delivery keep you intrigued throughout.

Other standouts in the cast were Monae, Bautista as the men’s rights streamer Duke Cody, and Hudson as model Birdie Jay, though the whole cast is working at a high level. Also, no spoiler’s here, but all we’ll say is: get ready for an extremely high amount of cameos.

This ensemble is strong, but one knock against the movie is, unfortunately, it’s not at the same sky-high level of brilliance as the original Knives Out characters. It wasn’t that anyone’s performances weren’t up to snuff, but simply that more characters in Glass Onion didn’t have as much to chew on as some others.

In particular, the characters who were “plus-ones” to others, meaning Cline’s Whiskey, who is dating Duke, and Henwick’s Peg, who is the assistant to Birdie, unfortunately just felt like extensions of their companions rather than fully formed participants in the mystery.

Even with this issue, Johnson still expertly plays with your expectations as to who the victims and killers are going to be in a very intriguing way. Some mystery fans may bounce off the writing decisions here, but it really was a fresh take on a genre that has been approached from so many angles before. The ending climax itself was a little bit rushed and convenient, but the journey getting there itself was so fun it didn’t leave that bad a taste in my mouth.

All-in-all, Glass Onion was great fun and certainly worthy of a bigger theater release than just one week. Glass Onion is only playing in theaters for one more day until Tuesday, November 29, and then it premieres on Netflix a month later on December 23.

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