By Megan Bianco
When he’s not getting hated on by a large selection of the Star Wars fan base, Rian Johnson is helping keep fun “whodunits” popular with his hit Knives Out (2019) and now the second installment, Glass Onion.
Whether audiences are just fickle or good art truly speaks for itself, Johnson proves once more that he is presently at his most comfortable with the light and amusing character that is Benoit Blanc.
Previously, we experienced Blanc (Daniel Craig), “the world’s greatest detective,” in a chilly, affluent Connecticut neighborhood with a group of potential heirs and recent murder suspects.
Here, he’s mysteriously invited to an annual, private reunion between longtime friends, including billionaire entrepreneur Miles Bron (Edward Norton); his tech company’s head scientist, Lionel Toussaint (Leslie Odom, Jr.); model-turned-designer, Birdie Jay (Kate Hudson); her stressed-out assistant, Peg (Jessica Henwick); chauvinist social media influencer Duke Cody (Dave Bautista); his young, eye-candy girlfriend, Whiskey (Madelyn Cline); local politician Claire Debella (Kathryn Hahn); and Miles’ former, embittered business partner, Andi Brand (Janelle Monáe).
Together, on an isolated Greek island, Blanc tries to figure out how and why he and Andi were invited to Miles’ personal “murder mystery party.”
Like with Knives Out, Glass Onion isn’t so much about a surprising reveal on who the murderer is, but more comedic social commentary through some entertaining characters. Previously, it was out-of-touch rich families; now, it’s digital-age phony celebrities.
The big twists in a Benoit Blanc tale are usually somewhere in the middle of the mystery, and the ones we get in Glass Onion are doozies. Johnson and Craig are successfully paying homage to Agatha Christie’s classic “whodunit” formula for contemporary settings, with clues and foreshadowing that are clever and accessibly subtle.
Craig is great yet again as the latest popular franchise lead, and Hudson delivers possibly her funniest performance to date as the bimbo of the group. But my favorites in the cast are Monáe and Henwick
While I thought Knives Out had better laugh-out-loud gags despite being the less goofy of the two films, Glass Onion is still worth a viewing for those who enjoy murder mysteries and Tom George’s See How They Run from just two months ago.