The same year Chris Evans said goodbye to his signature role of Steve Rogers/Captain America in Avengers: Endgame, the beloved hunk appeared in a very different kind of movie. For Rian Johnson’s hilarious and suspenseful Knives Out, Evans smartly chose a role that played hard against the pure knight in flag-themed armor type his Marvel work had forged. The Snowpiercer star played Ransom Drysdale — the spoiled grandson of Harlan Thrombey (Christopher Plummer), the film’s murder victim. It’s arguably the best movie Evans has ever appeared in and right now you can watch it for free on IMDb TV, where it’s in the top ten of the platform’s most streamed films.
Knives Out was writer/director Rian Johnson’s first feature film since the incredibly (and often toxically) divisive Star Wars entry The Last Jedi, and unlike that film it attracted near universal acclaim from both fans and critics. Smart, fast-paced, funny, and boasting an incredible cast; Knives Out not only earned a 97% critics and 92% fan score on Rotten Tomatoes, but Johnson’s screenplay was nominated for an Oscar. According to RT, it remains the most well-reviewed of Rian Johnson’s movies, as well as the most well-received narrative feature of Chris Evans.
Like Chris Evans, many of the actors appearing in Knives Out are blessed with the kinds of roles they don’t usually get to sink their teeth into. Daniel Craig may be best known as the latest James Bond, but in Johnson’s whodunnit he plays Benoit Blanc — a verbose, often rambling, but deceptively clever private detective who is hired by an anonymous source to investigate Thrombey’s death. Michael Shannon, known for playing physically powerful and intimidating men in projects like Man of Steel and Boardwalk Empire, plays the meek and ineffectual Walt. Jamie Lee Curtis (Halloween) plays the hard-nosed, unyielding Linda. Ana de Armas (Blade Runner 2049) is Thrombey’s guilt-ridden nurse Marta. Don Johnson (Miami Vice) is the conservative and wishy-washy Richard and Toni Collette (About a Boy) is the terminally new age-y Joni. The cast is rounded out with LaKeith Stanfield (Sorry to Bother You), Katherine Langford (Love, Simon), Jaeden Martell (St. Vincent), Riki Lindhome (My Best Friend’s Girl), and Frank Oz (The Empire Strikes Back).
As much of an engaging and fun film as Knives Out proved to be, when it comes to Chris Evans, one of the most talked about parts of his performance had nothing to do with his acting talent. Around the middle of the film, his character brings Marta to a restaurant. What stood out to many fans about the scene wasn’t the dialogue or the acting, but Evans’ eggshell knit sweater. The New Yorker even published a story all about social media’s thirsty reactions to the sweater, including a generous bump in sweater sales following the whodunnit.
What is most certainly an irony, but hopefully won’t wind up being a cruel one, is the future of Knives Out. Part of what made the film such a refreshing push of clean winter air was what it wasn’t. In a movie marketplace full of big budget franchises, Knives Out was the exact opposite of Marvel, Star Wars, or any other blockbuster genre films. It was a unique, standalone whodunnit that audiences adored. Mostly that hasn’t changed, but Knives Out was such a hit, it became a franchise all on its own. While neither Chris Evans nor most of the cast will return — save Daniel Craig, who will reprise the role of Benoit Blanc — Knives Out 2 is set to premiere on Netflix later this year. Along with Craig, the film will star Leslie Odom Jr. (Hamilton), Kate Hudson (Almost Famous), Dave Bautista (Guardians of the Galaxy), Kathryn Hahn (WandaVision), Jessica Henwick (The Matrix Resurrections), Madelyn Cline (Stranger Things), Ethan Hawke (Moon Knight), Ed Norton (Fight Club), and Janelle Monáe (Hidden Figures). The setting will change from the Thrombey mansion to a cruise ship.
While he won’t be in Knives Out 2, Chris Evans isn’t sitting on his hands this year. The Captain America: The First Avenger star is voicing Buzz Lightyear for the Toy Story spinoff Lightyear, due in theaters June 17. The following month he reunites with his Knives Out co-star Ana de Armas on Netflix — along with Ryan Gosling (La La Land), Billy Bob Thornton (Sling Blade), and more — for the action thriller The Gray Man.