‘Glass Onion’ review: Daniel Craig and Rian Johnson charm and surprise audiences with ‘Knives Out’ sequel

Daniel Craig and director Rian Johnson are back again with another incredible murder mystery with “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery.”

The first movie has already won many fans over with its sexy mystery, amazing cast, and poignant social commentary about elite families. “Glass Onion” does the same in a way that doesn’t feel like Johnson is trying to recreate the magic of the first movie.

In fact, Johnson breaks every murder mystery rule in the book while filling the movie with several not-so-missed references to the genre’s hall of fame.

The mystery in Glass Onion is simpler than it is in Knives Out, but the movie is still worth a watch

'Glass Onion' review: Daniel Craig and Rian Johnson charm and surprise audiences with 'Knives Out' sequel
The cast of “Glass Onion” includes Kathryn Hahn, Madelyn Cline, Edward Norton, Leslie Odom Jr., and Kate Hudson. 
John Wilson / Netflix

A big part of the appeal of “Knives Out” was its genius murder mystery and multiple plot twists that kept the audience hooked until the very end. It would have been a difficult feat to follow up on in the first place but Johnson didn’t seem to be attempting it with the “Glass Onion”.

Instead, he presents multiple mysteries, some simpler than others, that ultimately fit into this paradoxical central metaphor of the glass onion: something simple that actually turns out to be layered or something layered that turns out to be very simple.

In the sequel, Benoit Blanc is invited along with a group of wacky celebrities to a murder mystery on an island in Greece.

Several actors are adopting well-known murder mystery roles that have been slightly updated for the modern era. The bumbling asshole is now an internet celebrity (Kate Hudson) who writes several insensitive tweets. The chauvinist man is now a man’s rights launderer (Dave Bautista) who carries a gun everywhere.

However, just when you think you know where the story is headed, a twist occurs that turns all of these iconic murder mystery elements on their head. In the end, it seemed like Johnson was taunting us the entire trip, leaving obvious bread crumbs before getting distracted.

Despite the many performances by the cast, Janelle Monáe and Kate Hudson are the standouts.

'Glass Onion' review: Daniel Craig and Rian Johnson charm and surprise audiences with 'Knives Out' sequel
Janelle Monáe has an incredible performance as Cassandra “Andi” Brand. 
John Wilson / Netflix

Satire often fails by making the characters the message. Whatever comment the writer is trying to convey, he supersedes any comment about the character that could make him feel real and relatable. Instead, the “Glass Onion” cast and Johnson’s script do a good job of making each character more complex than they first appear.

Hudson’s Birdie Jay is sure to be a fan favorite, but not just because she dresses amazingly in every scene. Hudson is hilarious and has several moments where the mask falls off allowing the audience to see the true nature of the character in very touching scenes. The same kind of layer peeling happens with all characters. Craig plays a more relaxed and fun-loving Blanc, but we’re still in the dark about the character’s backstory making him a distant lead character.

Janelle Monáe’s performance was my personal favorite because of the range she brings to Cassandra Brand, the outcast from the celebrity group. It starts off stoic and cold but later you really feel her anger and betrayal and you want to root for her.

Glass Onion is bigger than the first movie but doesn’t forget its roots

'Glass Onion' review: Daniel Craig and Rian Johnson charm and surprise audiences with 'Knives Out' sequel
Kate Hudson as Birdie Jay and Jessica Henwick as Peg. 
John Wilson / Netflix

The sequel is even more ambitious than its first real-life movie with many cameos and an almost bizarre plot. However, the socio-political commentary is still going strong in “Glass Onion.”

Instead of wealthy families, Johnson targets pop culture celebrities from tech leaders to “progressive” politicians. It amusingly breaks down their myths and exposes the simple fact that they are all just as stupid, flawed human beings as we are.

With stunning cinematography and scores that heighten the tension of crucial scenes, Johnson creates an even more exciting and thought-provoking journey with his “Knives Out” sequel. Simple but clever puzzle audience will love it during the holidays.

“Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery” hits theaters for a limited time from Wednesday. Arrives on Netflix December 23rd.


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