I have to agree with Rian Johnson, I wish they had left the "Knives Out" part out of the title. This movie is solid on it's own, but if you are expecting the phenomenal experience that Knives Out provided, temper those expectations. Glass Onion is a worthy successor to Knives Out, and proves that Rian Johnson can can create fun stories. While Knives Out was subtle and nuanced, this one hits you on the head with its themes, time and time again. Which, to give Johnson credit, is the entire point of the movie. Some things are just so obvious, even if they seem complicated. Here's the breakdown
While I was never bored during this movie, the plot was just kind of...dumb. Which once again, that's the point, but the motive for the killing and who it is (which I think was a bit obvious, but hindsight is 50/50) weren't really that special or creative. Even the twist in the movie felt really forced, and wasn't really used as well as it could have been. The movie had a lot of tropes (lifesaving book for one) that didn't really make the plot better in any meaningful way. But that's just it. This is the movie that couldn't fail. Because even if ALL of those plot points were stupid, that was the entire point of the movie. So while Knives Out was a more well put together movie, this one's disorganized nature was the whole theme anyway. Which I'm assuming is what Johnson was going for, if so, very well done. If not, I apologize for defending the man who ruined Star Wars. My main critique is the same one I have for Knives Out, the ending feels rushed and manic. The ending of Knives Out gets violent and dramatic (the last murder as least), and this movie's finale just seems kind of mundane after everything it was leading up to.
Daniel Craig was born for this role. He was definitely cooler in Knives Out (best character introduction), but this was the more care free and fun Benoit Blanc, desperate to escape the pandemic's routine and get back into any adventure. The supporting is solid as well, with Edward Norton (who I'm happy to see in ANY movie) perfectly portraying a narcissistic rich asshole. The all star cast also includes a wonderful Dave Bautista, who joins John Cena in the VERY exclusive list of wrestlers who figured out how to act (more Cena than Batista really). Each cast member does their job well, even if we don't get to hear Leslie Odom Jr sing. I will always be impressed with how big names just seem drawn to this movie series, I hope we get another five or six of these things, just to see the ensemble come together.
While I did enjoy this movie, the theme seems to be the flavor of the year. The rich are rich. The rich are bad. Blah blah blah. I like the concept of these movies focusing on one area, but it would be great to see Blanc do a mystery in a different setting for the third movie. While the theme of this movie has been done plenty of times, I did appreciate the Glass Onion analogy, and Rian Johnson's accidental take on Elon Musk. These movies give a sharp critique of the wealthiest among us and how they treat the poor, but I do think Knives Out did it in a more complete way. This movie lacked a lot of the clever humor from the first one, like when the entire Thrombey family kept saying a different country for where Marta was from, that's gold. This movie was more of a silver, really one one clever moment involving sweatpants, and that's it. The rest seemed like an SNL sketch (as far as humor goes). But I also do love how Johnson does a mystery story, a LOT of the clues are there for you to figure out, making it a very fair whodunnit challenge for the audience.
Although it doesn't live up to Knives Out soaring heights, Glass Onion stands well on its own as a not so clever Whodunnit that brings a talented cast together around a very timely story and theme.