Glass Onion Review: A Fantastic And Surprisingly Timely Sequel
Our reviewer argues that while you can wait until next month to watch Glass Onion, you'd do well to catch it in theaters first.
Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery doesn’t stream on Netflix until December 23–the Friday before Christmas–but if you can see it in theaters before then, you should. The sequel to the runaway 2019 hit Knives Out is a hilarious, thrilling, and shockingly timely whodunnit that captures the spirit of the original while standing alone in story and tone. Daniel Craig suggested fans watch the movie twice, and I think you should follow his advice; watching it first in the theater if you can.
GLASS ONION: A KNIVES OUT MYSTERY REVIEW SCORE:
In Glass Onion celebrity detective Benoit Blanc (Craig), whom we first meet in Knives Out, is suffering from inaction during the pandemic. His salvation comes in the form of an unexpected invitation to the private island of billionaire Miles Bron (Edward Norton), to witness the over-the-top eccentricity of Bron and that of his friends. But the most unexpected guest of all is Bron’s old business partner Andi (Janelle Monáe), who was cut out of her share of Bron’s riches thanks to the testimony of his old, coattail-riding friends; aka “The Disruptors.”
I don’t intend to spoil a single surprise from Glass Onion in this review, and there are perhaps even more delicious revelations and misdirects in the film than there were in Knives Out. While writer/director Rian Johnson uses some of the same techniques he used in the earlier film to keep you guessing, Glass Onion still stands very much on its own two feet. I would have no problem recommending the sequel to someone who had never seen Knives Out (though if you haven’t, you should go ahead and remedy that ASAP).
Part of what distinguishes Glass Onion from its predecessor is its amazing cast. While Knives Out‘s cast was equally impressive, the suspects in the new film come from a much different world. Kate Hudson is the oblivious and aging supermodel Birdie Jay, Leslie Odom Jr. plays Bron’s chief scientist Lionel, Dave Bautista is the gun-toting streaming moron Duke, and Kathryn Hahn is Connecticut Governor and Senate hopeful Claire Debella.
The cast is rounded out by Madelyn Cline as Duke’s seductive girlfriend Whiskey; and Birdie Jay’s desperate, overworked, and often overlooked assistant Peg (Jessica Henwick). Not only does no one leave your suspicions until the end, but it takes quite a while before you even discover who the murder victim is.
Kate Hudson is a surprising standout as Birdie Jay. She steals pretty much every scene she’s in and gives us arguably the funniest performance in the flick; which is a remarkable feat considering.
Glass Onion also has a surprising number of cameos, including from a lesser known actor who played a different character in Knives Out and a television icon who sadly passed away earlier this year.
I can’t explain just how timely Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery is without dropping major spoilers, so I won’t. Suffice to say that it will leave you wondering if Rian Johnson has psychic powers. I will say it was wonderfully refreshing to finally see a film that isn’t about the pandemic, while at the same time acknowledging the pandemic.
I had to struggle to find any fault in the film. I will say one of the bigger surprises in Glass Onion is a tired trope, though the way Johnson delivers the reveal helps to cushion it.
On a lesser note, I will say that I would’ve loved to have seen much more of Kathryn Hahn. Though, at the same time, her reduced time in the spotlight has a lot to do with her role in the whodunnit being a departure for her, which speaks well of how much more range the future Agatha: Coven of Chaos lead is getting to show.
Glass Onion is a thoroughly entertaining successor to Knives Out. According to Variety, Tuesday November 29 is the last day you can see the film in theaters. If you manage to catch it on the big screen you’ll find yourself glad you did it, and excited to give it that essential second viewing when it streams on Netflix in December.