There is no mystery whyWorth a sequel. It killed off a sharp 2019 at the box office, providing the perfect motivation for director Rian Johnson and star Daniel Craig to return for the sequel, . But even with Netflix cash providing the opportunity, could they get away with killing again?
Fans of the first film will brace for mystery with a twist, which means the sequel will have to work even harder to surprise – at the risk of trying too hard, losing the audience in sophistication, or fatigue in credulity. Fortunately, though, Johnson’s second stab is another treat full of twists, enjoying the whodunit genre while also being quite funny.
Glass Onion airs on Netflix December 23, but for the first time on the streaming service, it will also play in major US theater chains. Be quick: It’s on the big screen for just one week on Thanksgiving, from November 23rd to November 29th.
Craig returns as detective louche Benoit Blanc, this time traveling to Greece to investigate a star-studded new squad. Edward Norton stars as a super-wealthy bro who collects his buds (and hangers-on), played by Kate Hudson, Kathryn Hahn, Leslie Odom Jr., Janelle Monáe, Madeline Klein, Jessica Henwick, and Dave Bautista with a gun at Speedos.
Craig first played the suave detective Blanc during the back of his timewhile Knives Out was writer/director Rian Johnson’s first great movie after his divisive Star Wars blockbuster. . But now they’re both free and franchise-free, and both seem thrilled at the chance to play. Craig plays Blanc’s comedic eccentrics, enjoying himself post-Bond style (did you see his awesome new vodka commercial, by the way?).
Meanwhile, Johnson delights in layering the complex plot. The invitation to the sun-dappled reunion comes in the form of a wooden puzzle box, and the entire movie is built from puzzles within puzzles. This multi-layered construction adds up to a very satisfying murder mystery. Among the suspects, Norton is too cute, Hudson is in fine form as a loud-mouthed fashionista, and Bautista once again excels at revealing hidden depths playing a manosphere. Monáe is giving Craig a run for his money as a character — no, I said too much. You will have to follow the clues yourself.
Layers in the Abyss is a razor-sharp satire that misrepresents the wealthy who are often the subject of these kinds of mysteries. On the surface, you can revel in the immediate enjoyment of golden sun and golden skin, the opulent setting and the glamorous costumes – the muted colors and cozy sweaters of the first film look positively beside the oversized size of the sequel. But as in other recent films attacking the lifestyles of the rich and sassy, like Triangle of Sadness, Bodies Bodies, or The Menu, part of the fun is knowing these fat cats are about to get their results.
At the same time, Glass Onion is almost, almost, a little too pleased with itself. There’s the obligatory Alexa joke and some funny but annoying — if you think about it — COVID gags, and just an overall vibe that sails dangerously close to the territory of the later Ocean’s 11 movies, where the big stars (and cameos) are smiling. Swan about an expensive vacation and expect you to thank them for it.
But Glass Onion emphatically invites you to laugh (albeit bitterly) at hideous entrepreneurs and influencers. Where the first film targeted the reclusive oblivion of inherited wealth, the sequel turns its sights on the modern super-wealthy: desperate social-media geeks, gripping politicians and deeply ill-considered technophiles. They’re the kind who excuse their self-centered floundering as “disorder” and mistake their own success as the product of their vague “genius” rather than self-serving ruthlessness backed by generous handouts of other people’s money — and lots of sheer dumb luck. It’s fun to see them fall apart at the knives’ exit, but it’s more than that it’s a biting critique of individuals who do things without understanding the consequences and burden others with the repercussions. Johnson may have been watchingWith great amusement (mixed, probably, with extreme despair).
The original Knives Out was a soulful homage to the classic murder mystery genre, with a twist. This is a tough trick to pull off twice: When you watch a hack, you almost know how it’s going to work out, and now we’re ready to watch this movie for a change.
The first Knives Out movie could have been a bizarre masterpiece, but it enraged audiences and earned Johnson a 2020 Oscar nomination for Best Original Screenplay. While gently sending up the classic whodunit, it inspired a minor revival in the genre. (Yes, Murder on the Orient Express hit a similar box office two years ago, but don’t tell me Kenneth Branagh’s Poirot would have had a franchise without the success of Knives Out.). Which brings us to the one unsolved mystery from Glass Onion: Can Rian Johnson and Benoit Blanc kill again?
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