Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery - Quick Review

The sequel to Rian Johnson's Knives Out is finally in theaters (and on Netflix on December 23, 2022), and it is a very worthy follow up to its predecessor. Knives Out was fun mystery that was more about the mystery genre of films than it was about solving the mystery. I went into Glass Onion looking to be entertained, and I was not disappointed. What made Knives Out work so good was the ensemble cast and they way they interacted with one another and our detective Benoit Blanc (played by Daniel Craig). Benoit Blanc is back, and the pandemic is used as part of the story for how events unfold which I thought was a useful ploy. Glass Onion like Knives Out uses comedy to keep the film light and fun which made the film feel like a comedy more so than a mystery film. Rian Johnson seems like a season director despite only directing six films so far, and half of his films fall into the mystery genre and half fall into the comedy genre. Glass Onion is about a group of 'disruptors' who come together at the island of the richest one for a murder mystery weekend, and then a real murder happens launching the weekend into chaos. 

I specifically think the film would be best enjoyed without knowing anything, but I could also see the benefit of multiple viewings. There are certain directors who have a style to their dialogue, like Tarantino, Wes Anderson, The Coen brothers, Richard Linklater, Cameron Crowe, Taika Waititi and Edgar Wright and Rian Johnson has joined the list. Johnson might have made it to the list faster had it not been for Star Wars: The Last Jedi. The Last Jedi is my favourite Star Wars film, but it is very different from everything else Rian Johnson has done. I remember seeing Johnson's first major film in Brick on video and while it did not work for me on my first viewing, but now I can appreciate the style of the film that is on par with all of the directors I mentioned earlier. I mentioned there filmmakers who are known for their writing and directing, and there are others known for their visual style and this list includes Ridley Scott, Christopher Nolan, David Fincher and Tim Burton. Rian Johnson based on his filmography is moving between both lists because of his quality writing and his visual style. Glass Onion and Knives Out are films that prove Johnson is capable of being on both lists. The dialogue in Glass Onion is on par like it was in Knives Out; I really found Glass Onion to be a really funny film with a lot of laugh out loud moments. The characters in the film are all very interesting, and I could see Johnson finding a way to bring some of these characters back for another project like a series or another film. 

The film has an ensemble cast made up of Daniel Craig, Edward Norton, Kathryn Hahn, Janelle Monae, Leslie Odom Jr., Dave Batista, Jessica Henwick, Kate Hudson and Madelyn Cline. All of the main characters are people of influence, and the film explores the depths people will go to so that they can keep their fame. The main part of any murder mystery is the motive, and the cliche in these type of films is that all the suspects have a motive. Benoit Blanc in Glass Onion has his hands full solving this mystery, all of these suspects have motives and the opportunity. The film features many twists and turns, but it is hardly surprising given how Knives Out did it first. While I did like the performances by all of the cast, a majority of the characters were very unlikeable people which was similar to Knives Out. I thought Janelle Monae, Kate Hudson, Leslie Odom Jr. and Edward Norton were the standouts. I thought Craig was good as Benoit Blanc, but I enjoyed his performance in Knives Out more. Nobody gave a bad performance, but the actors I mentioned went over and above my expectations. Edward Norton has been a great actor for a long time, but he has been out of the spotlight for far too long so it is nice to see him again. Kate Hudson gave a truly great comedic performance in the film, and she was playing against type. Leslie Odom Jr. also gave a great performance in the movie, but his role was less dynamic as he was meant to be a rational man though he was able to make what should have been a boring character something more interesting. The best performance in the film was done by Janelle Monae who was phenomenal, and I hope the performance leads to bigger roles in the near future.

Glass Onion was only in theaters for a very limited amount of time before it heads to Netflix on December 23rd, but I wonder if Netflix has pushed a theater release could the film had made money. Glass Onion is a film that would do well in theaters because it makes for a great audience reaction film where the theater is filled with the positive energy of the audience's appreciation. The movie-going experience can be great with a fun film and a lively crowd, but it can also be brutal with a bad audience (talking throughout movie and using their phones). The theater was packed and the crowd was great so it made Glass Onion a very fun experience with the audience laugh track boosting my enjoyment. Glass Onion kept the audience raptured until the very end, and that is really all that matters in my opinion. There are movies that win a lot of awards, but those films elicit weaker responses from the audience than from critics. Glass Onion is the rare film that should appeal to both critics and audiences, but I am not sure if it will get the critical recognition I think it deserves. It is such a well made film on all levels, and I can't think of a weak part of the film. Having a big cast in the film does not always work, but in Glass Onion I felt each member of the ensemble got moments to shine.

I am going to give Glass Onion a 9/10 for delivering a very entertaining movie that was filled with interesting characters and great performances. To put it into perspective I would give Knives Out a 9/10 too, so I think Glass Onion is at least on par with Knives Out. When it comes to the murder mystery genre of films, Knives Out and Glass Onion are homages to those films, but they are homages that will lead Glass Onion and Knives Out to be considered classics too. The best way to see Glass Onion is to avoid spoilers and watch it at least once or twice reading spoilers. I will be curious to see how the film will be greeted once it is on Netflix, I hope it will get a lot of media attention and it will get the recognition it deserves. I think if Netflix gave theatrical runs (with marketing) for some of their bigger budget and better films they could make money back while giving their audience the chance to see it on the big screen with a theater of people. Glass Onion is the kind of film that works with a big audience as there are a lot of moments that will get a reaction from people. Rian Johnson is proving to be a masterful storyteller that creates interesting characters, and I hope Johnson will continue to work on his own material for awhile before heading back to Star Wars. Please watch Glass Onion when it appears on Netflix (December 23rd in North America), it is a delightful and entertaining film. Thank you for reading my review and please stay tuned for my review of Violent Night. 

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