Glass Onion, Netflix
Rian Johnson pulls off the rare just as good as the first sequel, as the Benoit Blanc story continues. Though the who-dun-it theme is back, and obviously so is Daniel Craig's wonderful southern drawl. The rest of this film beats to its very own path, allowing it not to feel like a cookie cutter sequel to the heavily successful Knives Out. Rather with a Greek location, a brand new cast of unlikable rich socialites, and a whole new way that the entire story plays out- Glass Onion is its own story to tell. It may share the same universe, but Johnson does everything in his power to avoid falling into repeat traps, something that is often a flaw within the who-dun-it genre. We saw it just earlier this year with Brannagh's Death on The Nile repetition of the same formula isn't exciting and lacks the originality to draw audiences fully into what's happening. This film feels like it cuts its own path, something that both Knives Out diehards and the casual moviegoer that opts to step into this universe for the first time, can bond over.
Tech billionaire Miles Bron invites his friends for a getaway on his private Greek island. When someone turns up dead, Detective Benoit Blanc is put on the case.
Right from the jump, our situation is different- after all every guest invited to the Greek island is well alive. This establishes a brand new dynamic, not only are we looking at each others new characters with a magnifying glass trying to understand their motifs. We're also processing as the film goes on, who will be the one killed. After all, this is Rian Johnson we are talking about, and after Knives Out it's best to expect the unexpected. This set up works for me, because instead of learning background about our new cast on why they possibly could be the murder. Instead we're learning about their relationship in the Disruptors group as a whole, much like an onion a friend group has layers, and as Blanc starts peeling back those layers- there's a lot found out about our seemingly rich and fancy group of friends. Most of the findings being not good, and a lot of it, enough reason to murder.
The script moves clear and concise, never suffering from any pacing errors. By the time we hit the big twist, everything gets laid out to us in the most perfect way. We see the series from a perspective that we haven't seen before, and it really finally casts the light on the bigger picture of what's afoot. The ending I'm sure won't work for everyone, but I was a big fan of it. As again, we're not subjected to a similar finish as the first time around- if Johnson wants to build the world of Benoit Blanc for the long run, then there has to be plenty of variety in the endings that come to the illfated rich that ended up with him on the case. Nonetheless, the ending was in my eyes extremely satisfying and one that I'd say almost rivals de Armas staring down at the rich family she worked for in the first film.
Cast wise, I'd say the characters as a whole are less interesting than the Thrombey bunch. Sure there's Edward Nortons eccentric hippy rich character Miles Bron and Janelle Monae's slighted by her old business partner character Cassandra Brand. No one else gets the time to be fleshed out like the Knives Out cast was and that would be the one glimmering whole in the sequel to me. Yet, this cast came to play and did everything they could to bring even more excitement into their characters. More barren bones characters played by Bautista, Henwick and Cline are going to become fan favourites because of the way their characters are portrayed and less about the writing behind them. Kate Hudson does everything she possibly can to steal the limelight and it works as she plays the always offensive Birdie Jay. There's a level of mystery and suspicion in Leslie Odom JR's character and although I still don't feel it was fully investigated, the character was brought to life in a way that I was always captivated by him on screen. Only Kathryn Hahn didn't fully work for me, not because of the acting or the character- more so she did everything she could with it, there just wasn't enough there with the governor chatacter nor the personality crafted to stand out amongst this wild range of personalities.
In the end, Glass Onion: A Knives Out Murder Mystery proves yet again that Rian Johnson is the master of the modern day who-dun-it. This widely successful follow up that I really had to nitpick to find flaws adds yet another feather in Benoit Blancs cap. Making me excited for the next journey that Johnson and Craig will take us on as the Blanc mysteries continue.