Entertainment January 3, 2023
Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery sets up Daniel Craig’s Benoit Blanc as one of the best fictional detectives of our time — and it only took two movies to get there.
His seemingly distracting but ultimately endearing Southern charm helps him capture audiences, as do the puzzle box stories he’s thrown into, which are not only satisfying mysteries on their own but are also extremely funny.
That was true of the original Knives Out, and the sequel amps things up:
In short, the sequel is a delight.
Glass Onion starts a little more playful than its predecessor. A Mark Zuckerberg-like tech billionaire named Miles (Edward Norton) has invited his closest “disruptor” pals to a weekend retreat on his private island in Greece.
The group includes Duke (Dave Bautista), an MRA YouTuber and his budding influencer girlfriend Whiskey (Madelyn Cline); Connecticut Governor Claire (Kathryn Hahn); a model, fashion designer, and a problematic influencer who throws racial slurs every so often who goes by Birdie J (Kate Hudson) and her more level-headed assistant Peg (Jessica Henwick); world-famous scientist Lionel (Leslie Odom Jr.) who works with Miles on more outlandish projects; and Andi (Janelle Monáe), a former business partner of Miles.
Oh, and of course, there’s Benoit, the world’s most famous detective (in the movie, at least).
The theme of the weekend retreat? A murder mystery party where the guests have to solve the puzzle of Miles’ death.
Following the events of Knives Out, detective Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) begins to feel bored due to the COVID-19 shutdown.
However, Blanc gets the chance to solve a new case when he is invited to attend a murder mystery party held by the billionaire tech genius Miles Bron (Edward Norton).
Blanc feels very out of place while he’s in the company of Bron’s guests since they’re all influential figures in their respective industries.
They each have a solid social media presence, which makes it more challenging when Miles asks them to shut off their phones during his party.
It’s hard to say too much without getting into spoiler territory, but as you can imagine, the fictional murder eventually turns into an actual crime that needs to be solved.
The mystery is a complex one. Despite coming from varying backgrounds, everyone on the island is connected significantly.
The film does a great job of detangling this web of connections in incredibly satisfying ways.
There are so many payoff moments in Glass Onion that it’s hard to keep up. And even if you don’t care much about the conclusion, the journey is entertaining through and through.
The success of the film primarily comes down to the ensemble of characters.
The Thrombey family from the original film has nothing on this group of obscenely wealthy jerks, with all of the actors having the time of their lives portraying these characters that accurately resemble modern-day personalities.
Norton, in particular, is just incredibly punchable as an out-of-touch tech mogul who drops celebrity names with reckless abandon.
Birdie Jay’s many public blunders, like comparing herself to Harriet Tubman, are a pitch-perfect indictment of superficial celebrity culture.
Everyone is flawed, so seeing them taken out of their comfort zones is weirdly satisfying.
But as great as everyone else is, the real highlights are Daniel Craig and Janelle Monáe.
For Knives Out to become a franchise instead of a one-off, Benoit had to become much more interesting.
His Southern charm has steadily grown on audiences through his mixture of confidence that never translates to arrogance.
His big brain doesn’t cause him to look down on folks, and he seems to hold a particular degree of contempt for the elite.
On the other hand, it’s hard to say much about Monáe without risking spoiling the movie, but suffice it to say that she shows off an incredible amount of range and helps carry the second half of the film. Watching her work alongside Craig is a joy.
What’s easy to notice is that no matter how grand and lavish this movie appears, it’s a Netflix movie made for the streamer, and that’s where it will shine.
Like its predecessor, Glass Onion is gorgeous and comfortable and will make for cozy background viewing while you do your holiday baking.
The first movie was also fun to watch but demanded much more attention to the details of the mystery.
This time, the mystery is straightforward and built on less complicated characters and themes.
Seeing wealthy and powerful people embarrassed in front of the public has been a recurring theme in the media this year.
A good number of releases this year are social satires that show how fake “influencers” are.
Thankfully, in the Knives Out universe, justice prevails.
Time will tell if Benoit Blanc’s name joins those rarified heights of Holmes and Poirot, but he’s off to an excellent start two movies in.
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