Daniel Craig and writer/director Rian Johnson return with Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery, a movie that is undeniably better than the original in every conceivable way. An incredibly fun, funny, and smart whodunnit, Glass Onion pairs the wit and creativity of the first Knives Out with the one thing that film was missing: a satisfying murder mystery.
In my review of the original Knives Out, I called it fun and fast but noted that it was “just a shame Johnson didn’t apply this formula to a slightly sharper mystery.” Well, it’s clear that Johnson, who of course has been a follower of my work since before I was born, read my review and declared, “I will do what Erik Samdahl demands!” The formula is the same, but the mystery is much better.
Now I’m just repeating myself.
Craig is as amusing as ever as Benoit Blanc, the world’s greatest detective who finds himself stuck on a billionaire’s island at the behest of the owner–except the owner didn’t actually invite him.
But it’s the rest of the cast, and their colorful characters, that make Glass Onion such a riot. Kate Hudson, Dave Bautista, Janelle Monáe, Kathryn Hahn, Leslie Odom Jr, Jessica Henwick, and Madelyn Cline round out the potential list of killers (and/or victims), each reveling in the opportunity to play outlandish, complex creatures. Johnson writes and directs these characters with precision, while the talented actors bring them to life with embellishment that plays to each of their strengths. It’s the perfect example of writing and acting being fully synced with and symbiotic of one another.
Glass Onion also presents the opportunity for Ed Norton to flex his muscles in a way that we haven’t seen in years. I used to be a huge fan of the actor but it’s been a long time since he’s been in a movie that not only is well made but that really caters to his performance style. Johnson once again plays to his actors’ strengths and gives Norton a role that is fun, vibrant, and scathing all at once; Norton delivers in spades.
Cast/performances aside, Glass Onion is just a blast. Fun, colorful, and pulsing with energy throughout, it’s easily one of the most entertaining movies of the year. Johnson’s screenplay is creative and his direction is vibrant, layered, and engrossing. It’s hard to find much fault in the movie.
Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery improves upon its predecessor in every way. Smart, unpredictable, and fun as hell, it would be a crime to not check this one out.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.