I hope Rian Johnson continues to make Benoit Blanc anthology films for the rest of his career. “Star Wars” doesn’t seem to be up his alley of expertise, despite liking “The Last Jedi.” That fandom is hard to please, so I think having a career around an overall positively received franchise would be a great way to go. There is clear passion and nuance put into this script; I’m just so glad a movie like this exists. It’s so easy to phone in murder mysteries, and the shock value is present at each revelation.
The first film had a fantastic autumn atmosphere and a setting almost like a Clue board. “Glass Onion” has much more of a summer feel to it, and does make jokes about the game Clue. The production design of Edward Norton’s Miles Bron’s island in Greece was beautiful. Gorgeous use of lighting, costumes that perfectly matched each character’s mood, and superb editing.
If you thought “Knives Out” had its layers, “Glass Onion” has more, channeling its commentary to the modern day and not overstuffing itself. This was a blast from start to finish, absent of any slow scenes. With the two-and-a-half hour runtime, almost everything felt necessary to me. This movie is also told in a non-linear way (similar to the first), and there are scenes we see multiple times. I think that added to what was revealed because you could catch what was done differently the second time around.
“Knives Out” had a stacked cast, yet most of the time was spent with Daniel Craig, Ana de Armas, and to an extent Chris Evans. It’s fairly self-explanatory why the budget was so low, and all of these top-tier actors are in the movie: they have barely any screen time. With the sequel primarily taking place in one location, we get time to know our players, and each actor gets their time to shine.
Daniel Craig continues to be phenomenal as the world’s greatest detective, Benoit Blanc. I love this character so much, and I could watch him solve murders endlessly. The monologue, in particular, Blanc has when he’s figured out who the killer is was so damn brilliant that I never would’ve expected how everything unraveled in a million years. Nobody’s a fan of murder mysteries where you can confidently predict the killer early on. “Glass Onion” doesn’t follow a similar route as its predecessor and I found myself genuinely troubled as to who might be the culprit. Of course, I narrowed it down to a few, but I couldn’t confidently solve the mystery until Blanc did.
Janelle Monáe gets to have a lot of fun with her role – saying who she plays is a spoiler itself – and how her character unraveled was also something I would never have guessed. The role is slightly campy, but it worked. Monáe deserves all the praise she gets; no shade to her, I think what made me love her in the film was more of how the role was written and not as much how it was performed.
Kate Hudson and Edward Norton’s characters may as well have been written yesterday. This movie being filmed over a year ago, yet being more relevant than ever, was wild. They are playing caricatures of Kanye West and Elon Musk respectively. No more shall be said. The Thrombey’s in the first film did feel like they could be characters in a game, but they all had pretty much the same personality. I love the diversity and range shown through the “shitheads.”
Dave Bautista, Kathryn Hahn, Leslie Odom Jr., Jessica Henwick, and Madelyn Cline are also scene stealers. However, their roles had less of an impact on me compared to those I mentioned. Henwick, Odom Jr., and Cline were massively underused, but Bautista and Hahn were lovely when they did get things to do. Beyond that, there are many celebrity cameos (seven that I could find) that had me hysterical.
Again, Rian Johnson needs to pump these movies out as fast as he can. I would love to get a new Benoit Blanc mystery every other year during the holidays. These two films have been a fantastic showcase for A-listers to be cartoonish in a way that perfectly fits the environment they’re in, but mainly to display an incredibly fun script led by one of my favorite film characters of the last decade.