Film Review: Glass Onion

On Dec. 23, 2023, “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery” (otherwise known as “Glass Onion”) was released on Netflix. This film was the sequel to the adored “Knives Out” which was released in 2019 and starred a number of well-known actors, including Chris Evans, Jamie Lee Curtis and Christopher Plummer. Daniel Craig held the main role in both “Knives Out” and “Glass Onion” as the private detective Benoit Blanc, who solves his crimes using impressive deduction, keen observation and wit. 

“Knives Out” was a hit. Critics adored the movie, with The Hollywood Reporter praising it as “a treat from start to finish,” and Forbes saying that the director, Rian Johnson, used “Knives Out” to make “murder mystery great again.” With a creative storyline full of eccentric and captivating characters, “Knives Out” was an all-around great movie. The numbers showed that as well. The $40 million dollar budget was well surpassed with the film grossing $311.9 million globally at the box office. The movie was so valued that Netflix reportedly paid $469 million for the rights to two sequels, including “Glass Onion.” 

That’s a lot of pressure to live up to. Sequels of acclaimed movies can often hit well below the mark of their elder siblings. In trying to make a movie that is exactly like another, but still different, viewers can often be left disappointed and dissatisfied. This is why it is such a relief that “Glass Onion” does not fail to recreate the same excitement as “Knives Out” while being unique in its own right.

For one, Daniel Craig shines in his reprised role of Benoit Blanc. Craig holds the swagger and suaveness that he displayed as James Bond, but this time with a thick Southern accent. It is a performance that is both refreshing and entertaining. Craig is able to create a warmer and more animated version of his Bond–a true, uncomplicated hero that is out to complete his mission, this time with a Southern twang instead of a cool, posh demeanor. The character is made funnier, sharper and more sentimental than in “Knives Out,” but remains authentic and trustworthy to the audience. In some ways, by enhancing the main role of the sequel, “Glass Onion” already proves itself to be superior to the average sequel. 

What makes “Glass Onion” a good movie is not solely the mystery that is unraveled, but the layered characters that viewers learn to love, hate, sympathize with and mourn for over the course of 139 minutes. Benoit Blanc is written as the perfect hero for this fast-paced murder mystery; like Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes or Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot, this detective is undeniably good, while being removed enough from the victims and suspects that the viewer is able to see the mystery from their eyes. Janelle Monáe shines as an actress, as she delivers a complex role as two separate characters at once, both of whom are intriguing in their own right. Monáe does an excellent job switching between the two personalities that she plays, working as a partner for Blanc who is as exciting to watch as the detective himself. Craig and Monáe work incredibly well together to make “Glass Onion” into a fantastic murder mystery with the humor of a buddy cop television show. 

The rest of the cast is no less enticing for the viewers. While Blanc and Monáe serve as endearing protagonists, the other characters are clearly written to portray the moral gray areas that real-life people exist in. Edward Norton flawlessly portrays an Elon Musk-esque billionaire, who shamelessly flashes his wealth and simultaneously uses it to control those around him. Kathryn Hahn plays a congresswoman who struggles to find a balance between advocating for her beliefs and gathering funds for her campaign. Leslie Odom Jr. is a scientist who has difficulty following ethics in his research. Kate Hudson is an influencer whose ditziness provides some comic relief during the more serious scenes in the movie. Others star in a personality-filled ensemble that makes for a movie that does not have a single dull moment. 

“Glass Onion” is an impressive movie because of its excellent acting and well-written characters. As far as sequels go, this film is top-notch. If you are looking for a movie that is just plain entertaining, head on over to Netflix and watch Benoit Blanc solve his latest mystery.